Friday, November 20, 2009

California Students & Faculty Protest as University Regents Approve 32 Percent Student Fee Increase

Hundreds rally at UCLA to protest expected 32% increase in student fees


Los Angeles Times

November 19, 2009


A second day of protests roiled the UCLA campus today as the UC regents prepared to approve a 32% increase in student fees.


Groups of UC students from several other campuses arrived in Westwood to join a noisy demonstration against the fee hike, and a group of protesters was occupying a UCLA classroom building.


UCLA officials declared  Campbell Hall, where the sit- in continued, closed for the day. Inside, about 40 to 50 students had chained the doors shut shortly after midnight and were issuing e-mail statements.


"We choose to fight back, to resist, where we find ourselves, the place where we live and work, our university," their statement said. Campus police surrounded the classroom building, but no arrests were made.


Meanwhile, across campus, a crowd of several hundred gathered outside Covel Commons, where the regents were meeting.  Students and UC employees chanted such slogans as "Whose university? Our university!"


Among them was Tommy Le, a fourth-year student at UC Santa Cruz, who left his campus at 3 a.m. today in a convoy of two buses headed south. Le, 21, an American studies major from El Monte, said he was worried about how he being able to afford the higher charges, starting with an additional $585 for the rest of the school year.


"It's adding more stress and more burden," said Le, who said he works two part-time jobs and home to help his family. The fee increase, he said, would be "a lose-lose situation."


The full Board of Regents is expected to approve a fee hike of $2,500, or 32%, in two steps by next fall. That would bring the basic UC education fees to about $10,300, plus about another $1,000 for campus-based charges, for a total that would be about triple the UC cost a decade ago. Room, board and books can add another $16,000.


-- Larry Gordon


Associated Press

November 19, 2009


By Michael R. Blood, Associated Press Writer


LOS ANGELES - Officers armed with beanbag guns stood by as hundreds of protesters chanted, marched and even took over a building Thursday on the UCLA campus, where University of California regents were scheduled to vote on a 32 percent student fee increase.


The UC Board of Regents is considering boosting undergraduate fees - the equivalent of tuition - by $2,500 next year. The average annual fee for a full- time undergraduate would jump to about $10,300 - three times the cost only a decade ago.


For a second day, the proposal drew demonstrators to the University of California, Los Angeles. Some came from other UC campuses and stayed overnight in a tent city.


The demonstrators outside UCLA's Covel Commons building chanted, beat drums and waved signs urging "No fee hikes" and "Wanted: Leadership."


One student was arrested for obstructing an officer. She was cited and released, said UCLA spokesman Phil Hampton.


Campus police in helmets with face shields stood guard outside the conference building. The campus was also being monitored by police from several UC campuses and more than a dozen California Highway Patrol officers armed with beanbag-tossing shotguns.


Laura Zavala, 20, a third-year UCLA student, said she may have to get a second job to afford the increase.


"My family can't support me. I have to pay myself," she said. "It's not fair to students, when they are already pinched."


Ayanna Moody, a second-year pre-law student, said she might have to return to community college next year.


"I worked so hard to be at one of the most prestigious universities. To have to go back, it's very depressing," she said.


"I think it's outrageous," she said of the fee increase. "They've already cut out a lot of our majors and programs. I'd rather they cut some of their (administrator) salaries."


About 30 to 50 protesters staged a takeover of Campbell Hall, a building across campus that houses ethnic studies, Hampton said.


They chained the doors shut but were peaceful and there were no immediate plans to remove them, Hampton said.


No arrests had been made, although 14 demonstrators were arrested on Wednesday and cited for failure to disperse or disturbing the peace.


Demonstrations also were held at other UC campuses.


UC President Mark Yudof told reporters Wednesday he couldn't rule out raising student fees again if the state is unable to meet his request for an additional $913 million next year for the 10-campus system.


"I can't make any ... promises," he said.


After a series of deep cuts in state aid, and with state government facing a nearly $21 billion budget gap over the next year and a half, Board of Regents members said there was no option to higher fees.


"When you have no choice, you have no choice," Yudof said after a Regents' committee endorsed the fee plan Wednesday. "I'm sorry."


The Los Angeles meeting was repeatedly interrupted by outbursts from students and union members, who accused the board of turning its back on the next generation.


"We are bailing out the banks, we are bailing out Wall Street. Where is the bailout for public education?"

asked UCLA graduate student Sonja Diaz.


University of California, Irvine, economics student Sarah Bana told the board,


"You are jeopardizing California's future."


Students Storm UCLA Building to Protest Expected UC System Fee Increase


Los Angeles Times

November 19, 2009


About 30 students stormed UCLA's Campbell Hall and barricaded the doors with chains and bike locks early this morning to protest a student fee increase that is expected to be endorsed by the University of California's Board of Regents today.


[Updated at 8:39 a.m.: The UC Regents have started to meet, and hundreds of students have surrounded the building, protesting the proposed fee hike.]


Students who spent the night were sprawled outside Campbell Hall in sleeping bags. They carried posters and signs that read, "Don't take our education away" and "Don't privatize, democratize." Many wore bandannas over their faces.


Dozens of other students spent the night camped out in tents on top of Parking Structure 4. Hundreds of other students are expected to join the protesters and demonstrate at the UC Regents meeting that will take place later today.


The proposed two-step student fee increase would raise UC undergraduate education costs more than $2,500, or 32%.The annual cost of a UC education, not including campus-based fees would rise to $10,302.


Kyle Tramberly, a junior at UC San Diego, said he did not sleep since arriving at UCLA late Wednesday night.


"I'm here in solidarity with people across the state of California that are being subjugated to these outrageous fee increases," he said. "I can't afford the fee increases, personally. I have to take out private loans in order to cover this. It's completely unjust to put the burden on students."


A key committee of the UC Regents backed the two-step hike Wednesday, despite appeals from students who urged the board to at least postpone a vote. About 500 student and labor-union activists demonstrated outside the meeting. Fourteen were arrested.


-- My-Thuan Tran


As California Students & Faculty Protest


University Regents Approve 32 Percent Student Fee Increase




Audio: Statement from demonstrators:


Audio: Charles Alexande, UCLA Vice Provost for Student Diversity and Director of Academic Advancement Program:


Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at]


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


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