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Photos: At Least One Student Was Tasered at UCLA Today (and a Protest Recap)
It was a busy, loud and raucous day at UCLA as emotions ran high before and after avote to increase tuition by 32 percent. Shortly before 1 p.m., the Board of UC Regents voted in favor of the increase, with only one dissenting vote from student regent Jesse Bernal. The extra money will help reduce layoffs, stop course reductions and put money away for financial aid.
Protests began yesterday morning before a Regents' finance committee voted to push the tuition increase to the full board today. At yesterday's meeting inside Covel Commons, 14 were arrested, 12 of them students. Outside, protesting students gathered around the building resulting in various quick scuffles with police caught on video. A UCLA statement said two officers used tasers "in light stun mode" against two protesters, though they were not hurt. Two other students sustained minor injuries for unknown reasons.
With a tent city on campus, protests began early today when a group of about 25 entered Campbell Hall around 12:30 a.m., renaming it "Carter-Huggins Hall, after two Black Panthers who were murdered there in 1969," according Angus Johnston at the blog Student Activism. Three other UC buildings across the state were also occupied: Kresge Town Hall and Kerr Hall at UCSC and Mrak Hall at UC Davis. The Carter-Huggins Hall students made no demands, but those occupying the UCSC buildings released a list of 35 demands.
Protests grew outside Covel and in and around campus after today's vote, even at one point marching on Westwood and Wilshire boulevards. Regents and other officials were blocked in the building for hours with those trying to leave immediately accompanied by police.
A UCLA Police Department representative told LAist tonight that one student was arrested, cited and released for obstructing a police officer. Another was taken into custody, but was later released with no arrest. She was unaware of any taser use, but photos from the Associated Press indicate that it was used at least with one student, Rustin O'Neil (see above). It is unknown if he was the arrested student.
Not all students will see the increase. "Low income families are not affected by this tuition hike," reported ABC. "Low income is considered families making $70,000 or less and tuition is free for them. Really, it is the middle class that will feel a pinch because they will have a $2,500 increase a year and some middle class families don't qualify for financial aid."
The money for low income families will come from UC, state and federal grants, explained the LA Times, which said it will cover basic education fees.
By 7:30 p.m., the students in Campbell Hall dispersed.