Last Friday, 40 student activists locked themselves in a section of the Wheeler Hall for more than 12 hours to protest against the recent UC fee increase that was passed few days before. The original group of protestors were 43, but 3 members were arrested earlier that morning. After 12 hours, the protestors were arrested and then released without having any of their demands met. In addition to the 3 arrests, at least 2 more students were arrested outside of the building. The protest demonstration created a large response from the police and media. Surprisingly, the response to the article has been negative and skeptical as Berkeley students feel that Friday’s protest was unnecessary. Comments included students condemning the actions of the protestors for being “disruptive” and “ineffective” as actions would not generate money from the state deficit and only prevent students from attending classes. Alternatives such as overturning Prop 13 and limit state spending were proposed. However the overall tone of the responses found the protest to be inappropriate. http://www.dailycal.org/article/107610/live_blog_about_60_protesters_lock_selves_in_wheel
Live Blog of the Friday protest at Wheeler Hall at UC Berkeley.
In addition to Berkeley’s Friday protest, students from UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis, UCLA, and UC Santa Barbara also protested against the 32 percent student fee increase. Each of these UC’s adopted similar acts of protest by locking themselves in a campus building. In UCLA, demonstrators occupied Campbell Hall for almost 18 hours last Thursday. In UC Santa Cruz, about 150 students barricaded themselves in Kerr Halll from Thursday afternoon through Sunday morning. At UC Davis, about 53 students were arrested in Mrak Hall last Thursday. Although other UC campuses did not occupy buildings, students still held other demonstrations in response to the fee increase. Students across the UC campuses are mobilizing in response to the 32% fee increase proposal that was passed last Wednesday by the UC Regent.
In addition to students participating in demonstrations and occupying the Wheeler Hall last Friday, several Berkeley faculty members were involved. This shows that not only are students affected and responding to the fee increase, but so are the faculty members. Faculty members played a key role in monitoring the police outside Wheeler Hall and assisting in the release of the occupiers. Among the faculty members who helped monitor the police was arrested. Biology Professor Robert Dudley was violently thrown to the ground when he stated that he did not do anything to provoke the arrest. The professor’ arrest can be found on Youtube. Other faculty members like Dudley participated in Friday’s demonstration, including other Professors, Student Action Executives and CalSERVE Senator Cynthia Nava who spoke with the occupiers via phone at Wheeler Hall. In response to the article, students found the involvement of the faculty to be helpful and important. However students had different feelings in regards to the involvement of the Student Action Officials. While some found their assistance necessary, other found them to be ineffective. However the attitude toward the protest overall is negative as commenters found the protest to be unnecessary and directed to the wrong target- Sacramento instead of UC Regents.
Among the students that are affected by the 32% fee increase passed by UC Regents, those who qualify as AB 540 students will face a hard time coping with the higher costs. In response to the regent’s decision last Wednesday, the Undergraduate Student Association Council will work with the UC Office of the President to lessen the impact of the fee increase.
Last Thursday morning, UCLA students barricaded themselves in Campbell Hall as a demonstration in response to the 32% fee increase that was approved the day before at the UC Regents meeting on the UCLA campus. The demonstrators placed protest sings and a banner to “rename” the building “Carter-Huggins Hall” in honor of the two Black Panther members who were shot and killed in 1969. The protest, however, was not organized as there was confusion and paranoia inside the building. However the demonstration ended peacefully 18hours after. Despite the lack of organization of the protest inside the building, there was a lot of support and assistance from supporters outside who provided the occupiers with food and words of encouragement. Some students felt that the demonstration was not productive or made any progress. However, comments in response to the event were positive as students felt that the protest as successful and a necessary consequence of a greater goal to fight against the fee increases.
Last Thursday, the UC Regents unanimously voted to raise student fees by 32% in efforts to close a $900 million gap. All the Regent members, except for Student Regent Jesse Bernal were not swayed by the personal statements and cries of help from the students, faculty, and unions workers who spoke at the public forum at the Wednesday meeting. On Wednesday, about 500 students surrounded the UC Regent meeting in Covel Commons on the UCLA campus. On Thursday, more than 1000 students across UC campuses joined demonstrations in response to the UC Regent decision. Now that the vote is over, students are encouraged by the Regents to petition to Sacramento to renew state investment in education. In joining the plan to petition to Sacramento, students at UCI are planning marches at UCI during Martin Luther King Jr. weekend for peaceful demonstrations.
Editorial from the UCI Student Newspaper responded to the UC Regents decision to approve the 32% fee increase for all UC campuses. Although the protest was for a good cause, the attitude of the editorial in regards to the protest was negative as it felt that the violence that erupted from the protest discredited the student’s intentions and the credibility of the protest. The article expressed frustration against the UC Regents who seem detached and indifferent to the protestor’s stories and pleas for helps. Even though the vote has passed, the war is not over. Students should continue to organize to fight against the problems of insufficient state funding and budget cuts that are taking away from the quality of education of the UC system. The article expresses that concerns should be focused on organization and petitioning to Sacramento.
In response to the UC Regent’s decision to raise student tuition, UCI students are coming together to rally at Aldrich Hall on Tuesday November 24 from 12:00pm to 2:00pm. At the rally, students can speak out on how they are affected and share comments about the vote and the meeting at UCLA. Students are encouraged to wear black to emphasize the event’s theme: “funeral for higher education.”