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16 UCLA Students Arrested; Tuition Raised 7.4%

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More than 100 students from UC Irvine, UCSB, UC Riverside and UCLA attended to protest Wednesday at UCLA. After a meeting of the UC Regents, a group of them were arrested by campus police. When they were released later that night, they sent out this statement regarding their position:

The UC Regents Committee on Finance voted overwhelmingly to increase student fees by 7.4 percent for the 2008-2009 school year. This was all done on top of an already doubling of tuition within the previous six years. The regents ignored presentations by the University of California Student Association and Lieutenant Governor Garamendi. Both presented powerful PowerPoint presentations which showed the financial, social, and economic harms that fee increases would have on California's students.

Seconds after the fee increase was finalized, students within the meeting began chanting "Regents Regents can't you see, you're creating poverty!". They continued to shout and chant until the Regents were forced to walkout and UCPD were called in to stop the action. The UCPD gave an order to disperse, which if not complied would result in an arrest. 16 students representing UCLA, UCSB and the community colleges locked arms and participated in civil disobedience action which resulted in arrest. The students decided collectively to engage in this action because the UC Regents have ignored all legislative and lobbying attempts to freeze fees. These students represent a movement that is attempting to engage the Regents in a more direct manner. This new tactic has been brought forth as a s result of their lack of success in the previous actions.
The UC Regents approved raising tuition based on current State budget cuts close to $430 million.
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Governor Schwarzenegger approved a revised $200 million give-back however this did not stop the Regents from voting 7-2 in favor of ballooning student fees. And this comes after the UC Regents were ordered by a judge in January to pay $40 million back to graduate students who had their fees unlawfully raised on them. Does that mean today's fee increase was meant to compensate for the board's error?

The California Master Plan originally set out to make the state tuition free. Instead, California tuition has increased by 91% since 2001. The State continues to balance the budget on the backs of students.

Photo by flockwood via Flickr