UC students protest the possibility of increased fees
“President Yudof took your lunch money,” bellowed a UC Santa Cruz graduate student on Tuesday, Nov. 16 from the Porter College Quad. She was joined by a small mass of other students, graduate and undergraduate alike, aggravated by the prospect of UC regents raising tuition by 8 percent.
The demonstration occurred November 16 contemporaneously with a series of protests throughout UC campuses. Their timing corresponded with a UC Regents meeting in San Francisco to discuss whether a vote would be taken on a measure to increase student tuition further. Earlier this year, regents voted to raise tuition by 32 percent, which means an additional 8 percent increase would raise tuition by 40 percent in one year.
To express their anger and frustration, the students gathered in the Porter Quad gave speeches that emphasized the inequity of the proposed fee hikes and the hypocrisy of UC executives. Their voices were heard by fellow protestors and passersby via a generator powered by a peddled bicycle. Some students passed out flyers to educate their fellow students about the politics and economics behind the regents’ actions. Others stood in the warm November sun to chant in solidarity with the speakers.
“This demonstration is about using what little voice us students, who are the soul of university life, have in order to draw attention to our disgust and rejection of the regents’ actions,” said a third year literature major. “It is about taking control of our university.”
This demonstration did not entail shutting down the UCSC campus. After the initial rally, the participants marched through campus to briefly occupy the Terra Fresca restaurant on campus and subsequently disbanded by the campus bookstore. Though the Santa Cruz protest remained nonviolent, a similar demonstration in San Francisco resulted in police confrontation and the arrest of 13 protestors.
Despite the protests, however, regents voted 9-2 in a preliminary vote on Thursday, Nov. 18 to raise the tuition and the final vote is expected to occur later in the day. If passed, the fee hike will go into effect in the fall of 2011.