Students Protest Tuition

The protest was prompted by UC President Mark Yudof’s visit to campus last week. Students are protesting the UC Board of Regents’ potential annual tuition increase of up to 16 percent over the next four years, which would ultimately make tuition 81 percent higher. The projected increase would result in tuition fees of up to $22,068 by 2016. 

Yudof, who has held his position since 2008, came to UCSD to assist the ongoing search for Chancellor Marye Anne Fox’s successor. Fox announced her plans to resign at the end of the academic year, effective June 2012.

The protesters — dressed mostly in black — circled the Skaggs Building several times before pausing to state demands to the UC Board of Regents and the chancellor search committee, both of which were meeting inside.

“We want to show them while they’re here that we completely oppose the 80 percent tuition increases,” Vice President of External Affairs Samer Naji said. “It’s unacceptable. Higher fees eliminate the potential for lower-income and minority students to attend university and even the middle class is starting to not be able to afford UC schools.”

Students at the protest voiced anger and concern for the future of school administration. Several students carried signs voicing their concern for their future and calling to “Layoff Yudof.”

“We’re angry,” UCSD Public Education Committee member Iris Loughran said. “We want Yudof to know that we care about the selection of the new chancellor and we are angry about the rising tuition.”

One protester declared unity with all protest groups fighting for social and economic justice — mainly the “Occupy” movement. A protest held by the People’s Assembly in conjunction with the nationwide

“Occupy” movement was held a week earlier. Other points of interest were calls for a reversal of cuts and increases as well as equal educational rights for undocumented students.

Yudof has previously proposed and enacted the 2009 “Project You Can” campaign to encourage fund raising and increase financial assistance for lower-income students. He has presided over the UC system during several increases, including an 8 percent increase in Nov. 2010 and a 10.5-percent increase this past July.

Additionally, several students from UC Riverside drove down for the Friday event to show unity with the UCSD students.

“The Board of Regents’ mistakes are falling on the backs of students and families,” legislative member of the UCR Associated Students External Affairs Committee David Castillo said. “We’re here to show unity and that this is not just a problem in San Diego, but in Riverside and all across the nation.”

Marshall College freshman Adriana Ochoa said she was protesting because of a personal experience.

“My friend goes to a community college because she couldn’t afford university and would have been overwhelmed by student loans and no financial aid,” she said. “I don’t consider it fair that she shouldn’t have been able to go to a university even though she is as intelligent as me [sic].”

Approximately 20 campus police officers were on hand to ensure security for the chancellor search meeting inside the building.

UCPD Sgt. Doug O’Dell said he was not overly concerned about a violent confrontation with protesters.

“We’re pretty happy that so far everything has been peaceful,” O’Dell said. “We never know what to expect so we plan for the worst but hope for the best.”

UCSD Marketing & Communication Assistant Manager Christine Clark said the university had no response to the demonstration other than an affirmation that students had the right to protest.

The UC Board of Regents will meet Nov. 16 at UCSF to discuss a potential 81-percent tuition increase.

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