Hundreds of students gathered for a two-pronged Nov. 21 protest against the recent passage of the 2010-11 UC student-fee increases. One group held a candlelight vigil for the “death of public education” and the other staged a traffic-blocking march in front of the Gilman parking structure.
The protests came on the heels of last week’s UC Board of Regents meeting, where thousands of students, faculty and staff converged at the UCLA campus to voice their concerns over rising student fees.
On Nov. 19, the regents decided to raise undergraduate tuition $585 for Winter Quarter 2010, then raise it another $1,334 by the start of the 2010-11 school year. All told, the 32 percent increase will raise student fees to $10,302 a year.
Those organizing the “1, 2, 3 Red Light!” protest at the campus intersection originally hoped to block La Jolla Village Dr. traffic, but relocated to the Gilman Parking Structure due to a smaller-than-expected turnout.
The vigil, according to attendee and assistant professor Sarah Clarke Kaplan, afforded students a chance to channel their frustration over the UCLA protest’s lack of results, and at the same time commit to future action such as lobbying legislators for increased state funding.
“The students that came back from UCLA were exhausted,” Kaplan said. “They were devastated by the decision, they were angry, they were tired, and I think that this is an opportunity for them to spiritually and politically recharge — to have a sense of the community that’s behind them.”
The candlelight vigil and Gilman Dr. protest coincided with protests on other UC campuses, including a demonstration at UC Berkeley that turned violent Friday evening: UC Police made 41 arrests following a sit-in at Wheeler Hall, and several bystanders released self-shot footage of officers striking student protesters who gathered outside.
However, UC Berkeley officials insist that the demonstration necessitated a police presence, and have not yet addressed student accusations of police brutality.
“The Wheeler Hall protest ended peacefully this evening,” UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau said in a campuswide e-mail on Saturday. “It is truly regrettable, however, that a few members of our campus community may have found themselves in conflict with law-enforcement officers.”
Readers can contact Hayley Bisceglia-Martin at [email protected]