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A Win for Pepper-Sprayed Protesters? Santa Monica College Board Puts Controversial Tuition Pilot Program on Hold

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The board for Santa Monica College decided to put plans for a controversial summer tuition program on hold during an emergency meeting today. This comes less than a week after students were pepper-sprayed when they tried to show up to a board meeting to protest the new program.

The pilot program, originally approved in March, was supposed to offer "self-funded" classes this summer at the college's "actual cost" of $180 per credit unit. That's a big hike from the state-subsidized classes that cost $46 per credit unit, explains City News Service.

The president said offering certain classes "at rate" would be a good way to offer classes the school couldn't otherwise afford. But protesters complained it created a two-tiered education system for those who could afford to pay the extra tuition and those who couldn't.

The state seemed to agree that the proposal could be legally iffy, and California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott asked SMC President Chui Tsang to consider postponing the implementation of the two-tiered tuition system this week.

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Is this a win for the protesters? Some students think so. One of them told CNS that the program wouldn't have gotten a second look if it weren't for all the attention it got after protesters were pepper-sprayed: "Without the actions that happened on Tuesday, this would not be happening here,'' he said. "We wouldn't have gotten the media coverage..."

Students Pepper-Sprayed by Campus Police at Santa Monica College
Santa Monica College President Defends Pepper-Spraying Students to 'Preserve Public and Personal Safety'
Post-Pepper Spray: Santa Monica College Ordered to Defer Controversial Rate Program