SAN FRANCISCO — The University of California’s governing board opens a two-day meeting Wednesday where the key issue is a tuition hike proposed by UC President Janet Napolitano, who recently was hospitalized for side effects from cancer treatment.
Napolitano, 59, is expected at the meeting, which comes a week after her office announced she was hospitalized and at the same time made public that she was diagnosed with cancer last August.
Napolitano returned to work last Friday and was back to her full schedule, according to her office, which has not said what type of cancer Napolitano has or specified the complications from her treatment that caused the hospitalization.
The president of the 10-campus system had informed the chairwoman of the UC Board of Regents throughout her treatment, which is nearly complete, the university said. The rest of the board learned of Napolitano’s diagnosis in a telephone call last Tuesday, followed by an email from chairwoman Monica Lozano, shortly before the news was made public.
Napolitano, who previously was treated successfully for breast cancer, was a two-term governor of Arizona, serving from 2003 to 2009, before leaving to join President Barack Obama’s Cabinet. She was secretary of the Department of Homeland Security from 2009 to 2013.
As UC president since 2013, Napolitano has fought for additional funding for higher education, but state funding has continued to shrink as enrollment increases. She says the UC system needs to raise tuition for the first time in six years to hire more faculty, as well as build dorms and classrooms to accommodate the growing student population.
In-state undergraduates currently pay $12,294 a year in tuition and fees. The proposal calls for a $282 increase in tuition and $54 increase in fees, bringing the new total for California residents to $12,630 for the 2017-18 school year.