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UC Students Protest Rising Fees In Sacramento

Jerry Ting |
November 16, 2011 | 5:18 p.m. PST

Senior Staff Reporter

UC students from Berkeley, Merced, and Davis are protesting in Sacramento.
UC students from Berkeley, Merced, and Davis are protesting in Sacramento.
University of California students gathered in Sacramento on Wednesday to pressure state lawmakers to invest in higher education, following an announcement by the UC Regents to cancel their budget meeting in San Francisco this week.

Students from UC Berkeley, Davis and Merced met in the capitol to personally deliver their message. The students visited the governor’s office and other lawmaker offices, handing out pamphlets calling for progressive taxation and funding for the university system.

“Generations of Californians attended an excellent UC at low or no cost; today, those same Californians are forcing the next generation of students to attend a university under threat, and at a high and rising cost,” wrote Student Regent Alfredo Mireles Jr. and Student Regent-designate Jonathan Stein in a letter to the UC community.

Mireles and Stein consider further budget cuts by the State of California “a short-sighted economic choice” as the state becomes a less attractive destination for entrepreneurs and businesses. With the decreased funding, research at the UC campuses will be handicapped, the student regents said.

Sherry Lansing, head of the UC Board of Regents, wrote that meeting in San Francisco "might constitute a reckless disregard of credible law enforcement intelligence.”

While the UC protests were happening in Sacramento, the Cal State Regents voted behind closed doors in Long Beach to increase tuition by 9% for students attending state schools next year.

The tuition increase was met with protests outside of the building. Police pushed back some students and members of the group ReFund California who stormed the entrance. Others shattered a glass door.

Top UC officials fear their meeting could yield similar results. The UC regents hope to increase tuition by as much as 16% over the next four years, bringing costs to as high as $22,068 by the 2015 school year. 

“Personally, the estimated cost of attendance for another year of college for me determines a lot,” said UC San Diego student Karen Rodriguez.

“My parents will have to pay for my sister's and eventually my brother's school too. The increase in my cost of attendance could mean that I will not receive any help from my parent's next year because they will have to start saving up. I will be about a hundred thousand dollars in debt by graduation," said Rodriguez.

The protests in Sacramento and Long Beach add to the fervor of demonstration sweeping the Bay Area. The Occupy Berkeley and Oakland movements have seen an increase in violence as of late, as both local and university police continue to clash with demostrators.

“It is up to Sacramento to fix this situation, as the regents or our local government cannot fund the money. The protests are bringing many regents members on board with the issue by placing a greater stress on our state government,” said Sargunjot Kaur, a computer science student at UC Berkeley. “The Berkeley movements are protesting not only the rising tuition prices for a public education, but also the accessibility of this public education."

The UC Regents have not announced when their next budge meeting will be held, although they may be changing the location of the meeting in response to the protests.

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