The Daily Californian Online

Rallies Planned for Regents' Meeting

By Victoria Pardini
Contributing Writer
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Category: News > University > Higher Education

Students and workers are planning to protest the UC Board of Regents meeting Wednesday, though student and union activists say that the meeting's San Francisco location will likely mean the protest will be smaller than the raucous demonstration that shook UCLA when the board approved a 32 percent fee increase last year.

Organizers are predicting anywhere from 200 to 400 people will come to UC San Francisco to protest a proposed 8 percent systemwide student fee hike to be discussed at the meeting. According to ASUC External Affairs Vice President Ricardo Gomez, the protesters are expected to be divided about equally between students and workers.

Compared with last year, the number of protesters present at UCSF is expected to be much lower. Gomez said the meeting's location suppresses student voices due to the lack of an undergraduate presence on the campus. At last year's protest at UCLA, the number of protesters was estimated at 3,000.

"The UC regents held their meeting at the UCSF campus on purpose because it shields them from public protest because there's not that many students there," he said.

According to Gomez, the anticipated decrease could be because students have been preoccupied with other issues, such as activity in midterm election campaigns or the recent proposed changes to the ethnic studies major. Additionally, he said the arrests that resulted from last year's protests and the conduct hearings that followed had a "huge chilling effect" on student energy.

Because organizers are anticipating a smaller student presence at Wednesday's meeting, the presence of union workers will be more pronounced, and according to Julian Posadas, vice president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, the groups are united in their missions.

"The coalition between students and workers is something not to be reckoned with," Posadas said. "We need to have people who make decisions who are connected to the communities."

In anticipation of Wednesday's protests, organizers have planned demonstrations at UC Berkeley and other UC campuses systemwide Tuesday to inform students about the proposed fee hikes and about Wednesday's scheduled protests.

According to Gomez, on Wednesday, the UC Student Association is planning to hold press conferences throughout the day, a march around the campus and a flash mob, in addition to other demonstrations from other groups including unions representing graduate students and staff.

UCSA President Claudia Magana said because the agenda for the meeting was released after organizers had planned the protests for Wednesday, the vote on the fee hike and the protests do not coincide.

"I'm not coordinating anything for Thursday, but I'm pretty sure there will be something planned from student groups," she said.

Magana said while she does not expect the protesters to stop the regents from voting on the fee hikes, she hopes the protests will convince the regents to vote against them.

Action beyond the Nov. 17 protest has not officially been scheduled, but Gomez said plans may be made during the regents' meeting.

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