Janet Napolitano got caught in an 'open-mic' moment Wednesday at a contentious California University Board of Regents meeting where protesters voiced their concerns about budgetary issues in the 10-campus system.

The former head of Homeland Security and current UC president, apparently ruffled by the protesters' chants, turned to a regent member to her left, and said, "Let’s go. We don't have to listen to this crap."

The two eventually returned to the UC San Francisco meeting room, but a microphone caught the comment she apparently thought was private.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Napolitano issued an apology Thursday.

"I'm sorry for using a word I don't usually use," she said at the beginning of a meeting Thursday. She reportedly asked those offended by the word choice for "empathy and understanding."

The Times reported that Napolitano was greeted with chants from a group of about 30 students and even, at one time, a student partially disrobing.