Students and Faculty Protest Cuts

Revelle College freshman Emily Stoffer co-founded the Public Education Coalition in September after hearing about the UC Regents’ proposal to raise tuition. The PEC collaborated with other organizations, including the People’s Assembly at UCSD, to organize the Nov. 9 protest.

“It doesn’t matter if you can personally pay the $22,000, there are lots of people that can’t and that’s not okay,” Stoffer said.

The proposed tuition increases would bring tuition to approximately $22,000 by the end of the four-year installment plan. UC President Mark Yudof announced Nov. 8 that the proposal to raise tuition will not be voted on at next week’s UC Regents meeting. Despite this, Stoffer said Wednesday’s event was still important.

“There will be cuts in services here,” Stoffer said. “The general experience at UCSD is going to dwindle. This affects every student and professor and everyone here on campus.”
Instead of raising tuition next year, Yudof plans to ask for additional funding from the state, according to “UC to seek state funds to avoid a tuition hike next year,” published Nov. 9 in the Los Angeles Times.

“Even though the plan to raise tuition isn’t going to be voted on anymore, there are still going to be fee increases,” Stoffer said. “The goal of [the protest] is educating and letting the UC Regents know that we are upset about the rising tuition and fees and won’t be able to take it much longer.”

According to Sixth College junior and protest coordinator Sean Estelle, the potential fee increase would raise tuition to $22,068 at the end of the four years — a 200 percent fee increase over the last decade.  

“It used to be $50,000 to go to USC — one of the most expensive private colleges in the nation — public school might reach half that,” Estelle said. “It should never reach half that — it should never even reach a tenth of that. [Education] is for the people, people aren’t going to be able to afford that. Education is a right for everyone.”
San Diego Faculty Association President and UCSD sociology professor Ivan Evans spoke at the protest. He said students need to be released from debt and all Californians should defend students and
teachers from UCs, California State Universities and California Community Colleges.

“This is a policy that is really awful and insupportable,” Evans said.

By the time the march started, more than 50 people had gathered. There were pre-made signs for everyone and free red bracelets. The protestors marched from Silent Tree down to PC Plaza and stopped right in front of the crosswalk at Gilman Dr.

The protestors walked in circles on the crosswalk to keep it blocked while screaming “Occupy Crosswalk.”

Graduate Student in Ethnic Studies Alborz Ghandehari and Vice President of External Affairs Samer Naji led the protestors, encouraging them to continue walking.

They marched on the crosswalk for 30 minutes. They stopped traffic, including shuttles and buses with students trying to get to class. The 30 bus was one of the vehicles stopped — frustrated students walked off the bus after five minutes.

Around 20 protestors stayed on the end of Library Walk, holding their signs.

The protestors let the shuttle through after occupying the street for 15 minutes on the crosswalk, but quickly retook the street once the shuttle had left.

The police arrived halfway through Occupy Crosswalk. The officers tried to block the students from the street to let the traffic through. One officer pleaded with the protestors to stay away from the street.

The students broke past the police, and Police Chief Orville King pulled a female student away from the street because a car tried to get around the protestors. Graduate student in sociology Aaron
Marquette challenged King in response to his action.

“You assaulted that woman,” Marquette said.

The protestors marched back to the Silent Tree after 30 minutes of occupying the crosswalk. They discussed the police interfering with their occupation of the crosswalk. The megaphone was passed around the circle so anyone could have a say.

“If they need to get to class tell the students to get the fuck off the bus,” Eleanor Roosevelt College sophomore Jack Beegah said.
Beegah was not alone in his sentiments. Muir College sophomore Adam Netanel said there should not have been an issue with obstructing the roadway.

“Blocking traffic is not a civil disobedience,” Netanel said to the crowd.

After the protest, Police Chief Orville King and Police Captain David Rose talked to lingering protestors who were upset about police interference. King was asked multiple times about pushing protestors back, and he was adamant that he did not assault anyone.

“I wouldn’t say I pushed you,” King said. “The issue is safety.”

Rose told the remaining crowd that they were not allowed to block the roadway. He said the police could have formed a barrier for the protestors, but in that situation, the police would have shut down the protest.

“We don’t want cars hitting you,” Rose said. “Cars are the wild card.”

Naji said the large turnout was good because it meant students knew about it and were interested in learning more.

“A lot of the people who joined us were students who saw us marching towards the intersection,” Naji said. “Just marching alone doesn’t accomplish, civil disobedience is what’s needed to get students to come out.”

Naji said the students who joined the protest now have a new sense of empowerment.

“We got our message heard by shutting down the streets,” Naji said. “We accomplished that phenomenally today.”

According to Marshall College senior and protest co-organizer Iris Loughran, Wednesday’s rally was a statewide event.

“The main goal of the protest is to share solidarity with the whole statewide movement because this is affecting all of us equally,” Loughran said. “No UC is feeling it more than other UCs.”
Faculty at CSUs and CCCs are going on strike Nov. 17.

The UCSD Police Department could not be reached for comment as of press time.

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