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/ November 19, 2009
UC Students Occupy UCLA Building to Protest Fee Increase (Updates)

50596143In Westwood, Ca., hundreds of UC students have organized a TBNYU-esque occupation at UCLA, protesting the likely approval of UC fee increase — UC students don’t pay tuition, but “fees” — to help the state overcome its absurd deficit.

About 50 students have taken over building Campbell Hall, where they have chained the doors shut and are wearing intimidating bandanas. Naturally, hundreds more (representing various UC campuses) have joined them outside the building, with picket signs and even more bandanas Saw v download. Hm, this all sounds so familiar.

The group (with no distinct name) has released an audio statement encouraging students “who work two or three jobs while going to school” or for parents who will lose “the prospect of affordable education” to join in on the protest. Their only demand asks that state leadership find “other alternatives” besides increasing UC fees.

According to the LA Times:

“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.”

NYU’s tuition is roughly twice the post-increase fees UC students pay. Just saying.

UPDATE: According to the LA Daily News, the UC Board of Regents — essentially the governing body of the UC system — has indeed “approved a 32 percent fee increase Thursday that will push UC tuition above $10,000 for the first time.” The increase comes while the entire UC system is facing a deficit of over $500 million.

Also, one student was arrested earlier for obstructing a police officer (whatever that means). Yesterday, twelve students were arrested while protesting in front of the Board of Regents’ Finance Committee.

The AP notes that “police in riot gear kept an eye on the protesters.”

Also, here’s a clarification of the fee system: All UC  universities are in a public system, thus tuition is hypothetically $0. However, all students pay through so-called fees managed by the UC Board of Regents, the UC governing body established in the California constitution.

UPDATE: Here’s a video of some protesting, with some heated action between students and police:

Compare this to last year’s TBNYU protest in front of Kimmel (for non-NYU readers, Kimmel is NYU’s primary student building). It’s interesting how similar both protests are, except the fact that UC students are wearing t-shirts and sunglasses (not jealous at all). Although, according to a few sources — friends at various UC universities — protests have been occurring regularly on campuses for the past few months:

The LA Times also reports that 40 other protestors locked themselves inside a classroom across campus from the main action. After the Board of Regents approved the fee increase — while protestors were only yards away — “some of the regents were trapped in the building and in vehicles as about 100 demonstrators surrounded the garage. Later, police cleared a path and escorted the UC officials out in a hurry as students chased them.” Here’s an awesome photo of some students blocking a van carrying regents:


The UCSolidarity website is also posting advisories for upcoming protests at different UC campuses, including UC Berkeley, which is organizing a solidarity strike.

Check in for more updates.

Photos from LA Times.