Fee Increase Spurs Protests Across Many UC Campuses

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Student fee hikes and university-wide budget cuts prompted angry responses-particularly building occupations by protesters-across many UC campuses late last week.

In addition to the occupation of Wheeler Hall at UC Berkeley on Friday, students at UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis, UCLA and UC Santa Barbara also protested the 32 percent student fee hike and the effects of budget cuts on their respective campuses.

The UC Board of Regents approved the student fee increase on Thursday at its meeting at UCLA as hundreds of students protested outside the building in which the meeting was held.

At the peak of Thursday's protest at UCLA, about 1,000 demonstrators surrounded the building and police used Tasers and batons to allow UC administrators and the regents to exit the building. At least one student was arrested, according to a UCLA statement.

In addition, demonstrators at UCLA occupied Campbell Hall from 2 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday in protest, said campus spokesperson Phil Hampton, adding that Friday was quiet and without protest.

According to a statement from UCSC Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor David Kliger, protesters at UC Santa Cruz barricaded themselves in Kerr Hall from Thursday afternoon through Sunday morning, making at least 30 demands that included the repeal of the student fee increase.

According to UCSC Director of Public Affairs Jim Burns, the roughly 150 individuals occupying the building were mostly students, but also included individuals unaffiliated with campus.

The protesters left areas of the building in disarray and destroyed some equipment, but no arrests were made, according to a statement from UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal.

The occupied hall houses classrooms and many administrative offices, including the chancellor's office.

UCSC sophomore Ben Gevercer said he thought the protest was very disruptive to students and faculty.

"I think that their protests aren't thought out very well, and they're not as productive as they could be," he said.

At UC Davis, close to 53 students were arrested for trespassing in Mrak Hall last Thursday, said UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza. She said students remained in Mrak Hall unlawfully after the hall had closed at 5 p.m. and did not leave despite multiple requests for them to do so.

While students at other campuses did not occupy buildings, students still held other demonstrations relating to budget cuts.

About 350 students at UC Santa Barbara rallied Friday to support the Department of Exercise and Sport Studies, which the campus was considering eliminating, said George Foulsham, news director in the office of public affairs.

UC Berkeley junior Aryn Shelander said while she did not participate in the protests, she was in favor of them.

"I definitely support actions on other campuses because it's not just Berkeley," she said. "The cuts are going to every UC and every public school."

Angelica Dongallo of The Daily Californian contributed to this report.


Contact Mihir Zaveri at [email protected]

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