Skip to main content

Originally posted by Rachel Tepper of Plight of the Pumpernickel for Sum of Change.

News of a steep hike in tuition fees at University of California public schools have students riled up at campuses across the UC system.

The UC’s Board of Regents met at UCLA on Wednesday to approve a plan which will raise next year’s undergraduate fees by an astounding 32%.  UC President Mark Yudof told The New York Times that the fee increase was the university’s only choice in light of significant state budget cuts in the last decade.  Yudof explained that the university system currently receives half as much, per student, as it did about twenty years ago.

Despite current measures in place which have slashed staff salaries, laid off teaching assistants, eliminated free printing for students and cut library hours, the board insisted that the university will be unable to maintain the same level of academic excellence without raising tuition.

Anger within the student body was most acutely felt at UCLA, where students from across the university system rallied outside the board’s meeting.  Protests at times turned nasty, leading to the arrests of several students and accusations of police brutality.

Darlene Tran, a sophomore at UCLA, received bruises to her chest and wrist courtesy of officers responding to protests outside the meeting.  Tran said she was chanting with a mass of students blocking the board members’ exit from a university building.  She explained that she and others were demonstrating peacefully, but officers used unnecessary force when they pushed through the crowd to clear an exit path.

“From my perspective, I understand why they did it,” admitted Tran.  “But I don’t think they needed to have been so aggressive.  It was almost brutal, in a way.”

Tran noted that the Board of Regent’s meeting had originally been scheduled to take place on a day earlier on Thursday.  She believes that the rescheduling was a deliberate attempt to thwart students’ plans to assemble.  Students representing every institution in the UC system planned to bus to rallies at UCLA, but arrived a day late.

“We thought it was very sketchy,” said Tran.

In a last ditch attempt to convince the board to reverse its decision, some students stormed Campbell Hall, a building on UCLA’s campus, and occupied it from 2 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday in protest.

Tran noted that the protests had hit a particularly sensitive chord with students.

"We’re students, we can not handle this fee increase," said an exasperated Tran.  She believes many students will be forced to drop out of school because of the increased fees.  "We’re smart and we’re knowledgeable.  We know there are other ways, there are other solutions, but we want to be protesting.”

Senior Sharya de Silva said the vigorous demonstration was a unique display of a particularly emotional student body.

“It was more students than I have seen in a long time. When it first started on campus, I would say at least 300 kids [were protesting],” explained Silva.  “But then when we walked down Westwood Blvd…another group of students showed up.  I think while marching we had around 600 kids.”

She described the scene outside Covel Hall, a building on UCLA’s campus, as “a mad house,” and said she believes about 1000 were protesting there.

Silva echoed sentiments of undue police force against what she described as passionate but nonviolent protest.

“I saw one officer swinging a baton around to try and clear room,” she said.  “In the process he hit two guys and almost hit me.  This one girl was actually trying to help the cops by calming the crowd down, and they got her.  It was sad, she just hit the ground.”

Silva believes the police “didn't know how to handle the volume of students with that much passion,” and their actions were preemptive measures taken in fear that protests would turn violent.

Despite the widespread discontentment in regard to increased fees and the fervor demonstrated by protesters, some students questioned the effectiveness of such displays.

“Everyone is unified in their opinion about it, well, sucking, but not everyone supports the protests,” said junior Nathan Stein.  He said the demonstrations are “causing a lot of disturbance to people living in the dorms and not accomplishing much.”

Both Tran and Silva confessed that they believed the decision made by the Board of Regents will likely stick.

Protests have currently died down, though students continue to stew over the possible implications the increase.

For now though, students must turn their thoughts to another problem: finals.  Exams for the fall semester will begin taking place in a matter of days.  Little time, said Stein, to worry about tuition.

“I think most students are spending their time studying,” he said.

Originally posted to SumOfChange on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 02:27 PM PST.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Your view of this strikes me as unempathetic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SumOfChange

    to some degree.

    I've tipped and rec'd it, because it's a great matter of concern for me. However, are you aware of the extent of the protests, who backs them, and why?

    Focusing on the wayward militants while ending on the note that "most students" are spending time studying belittles the argument here.

    And if the Board of Regents stands fast with this, there are going to be ramifications.

    And it is TRUE that students are, at some state schools, locked in to the system badly in a way that has cost them and their families up to a year of rent (if they've leased) with a year set back to education.

    The situation is serious.

    Prominent Professors are leaving some of these Universities over it.

    This is not going to die down. That's not realistic. The unrest has been brewing for some time. The situation is not entirely based on CA state funding.

    What is President Yudof's confidence rating amongst Professors? I honestly don't know, but if it looks like that of some of the other public University systems nearby, I'd guess it were very low.

    "Dawn-sniffing revenant / Plodder through midnight rain / Question me again." - Seamus Heaney

    by mahakali overdrive on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 02:35:51 PM PST

    •  Also, UCLA was the first to protest (0+ / 0-)

      and the protests weren't organized. They were reactionary. They were what one might call "a revolt" and not a "protest." That's why they WERE angry. Similar at UCBerkeley. There was no consultation, other than a perfunctory one, about how to protest. The students have felt screwed for awhile, and this final insult resulted in "a riot." Yes, a riot. So expecting an ideologically cohesive protest is ridiculous. This is a revolt that may become a sustained protest. We'll see. But the mistake many are making is not viewing it for what it is: a student uprising that was not coordinated and that grew organically over a few hours.

      "Dawn-sniffing revenant / Plodder through midnight rain / Question me again." - Seamus Heaney

      by mahakali overdrive on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 02:38:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  by no means are we... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mahakali overdrive

      "unempathetic." And yes, we are somewhat knowledgeable about the extent of the protests (we first covered it in September)

      This report was written based on what we were hearing from people on the ground.

      Thanks for the tip and the rec, you are absolutely right that this issue is critically important.

      Socially, Politically, and Culturally Conscious Videos: Sum of Change

      by SumOfChange on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 03:01:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It may be that I'm overly invested in this (3+ / 0-)

        The diary contents (of the article) pointed to a fair amount of militance, and I was explaining why. The term "protest" is a misnomer, in my view. This was a... not a riot, but a spontaneous, largely uncoordinated uprising.

        I'm burnt out by how many diaries have come up about this, perhaps, that aren't understanding of students, professors, and staff who support this and may be in hyper-vigilance mode.

        Thus said, I've been following this for over two years directly, and have been in deep discussion with people who have been involved in the state university system financial situation since the 1970's.

        My husband is a Professor at a state University. My views are independent of his. Still, my finger is on the pulse of this on, closely. I have read the union listservs and wondered when this would erupt into something. I don't think we've seen the half of it.

        My kid brother attends UC Berkeley. I know many Professors (and some administration as well) in the overall state university system.

        The common argument made by many is that this is primarily a problem of knee-jerk students who don't understand that the funding, due to the CA budget crisis, isn't there. I think that's an incorrect assessment. The problems lie so much deeper than that. I could pretty much write a book on this.

        Thank you for caring and keeping tabs with people on the ground. During the UC Berkeley situation, I was in direct contact with my brother frequently during his several hours of engaging with protesters.

        Because of my husband, I cannot detail much further.

        But this situation must have more attention drawn to it. And it must NOT be blamed on CA state, because that is part, but by no means all, of the problem here. Nor do I believe students knee-jerked. I think they did good.

        "Dawn-sniffing revenant / Plodder through midnight rain / Question me again." - Seamus Heaney

        by mahakali overdrive on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 03:32:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Boycott sports (3+ / 0-)

    The best way students can show their anger over these fee hikes is to stop going to all sports events.  Sports is the only thing administrators take seriously.

    Big Joe Helton: "I pay Plenty."
    Chico Marx: "Well, then we're Plenty Tough."

    by Caelian on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 02:43:03 PM PST

  •  Wait a second (0+ / 0-)

    I understand the frustration---I got my degree from UCLA in the 70's, was heavily involved with anti-war protests (was even shoved around near Murphy Hall by riot police), and paid only $208.50 per quarter.  So I get it.

    But the FACT is that the state's contribution to UCLA has been drastically cut, and simply saying NO, NO, NO is stupid without explaining what the alternatives are.  And complaining about a few administrator's salaries are is silly--the numbers don't compare.   This reminds me of the typical Republican mantra of "cut taxes, cut taxes" and when asked where the money is to come--"cut waste, fraud and abuse" and pointing to a few examples of wasteful spending that are less than a percent of the proposed taxcuts.

    So before I have any sympathy, I would like to see the protestors state EXPLICITLY---where would money come from.  Either propose explicit revenue enhancers that aren't tuition, or massive cuts, or some combination.  But WHERE DOES THE MONEY COME FROM?

    •  The money is there, more or less (4+ / 0-)

      but the schools are overpaying administration and on-campus law enforcement, and creating a privatized-style school system with what would be considered "pork barrel projects," like the development of multi-million dollar projects while programs get slashed. Also, the programs being slashed are almost all in the traditional University GE pattern of Liberal Arts and Humanities, while Business, Law, and certain vocational programs are receiving funding. There is a lot of unnecessary personnel and construction ongoing, to make the schools appeal to MBA type students, while the schools were primarily established as region-based liberal Universities. The students are very aware of this (at least many). The Professors are also sympathetic of the problem. This year, many programs were cut that were previously PRIVATELY endowed. The over-reliance on private endowments by Yudof and others has caused possible resistance in the CA legislature to give out further monies. That's the choice of the Regeants, and is why many are pissed off.

      This is just a tiny slice of how funds are being misused, internally.

      I can't detail further without risking my anonymity here, sorry.

      There should be articles online about this.

      Look to both the UC's and the CSU's. SFSU ALSO protested.

      "Dawn-sniffing revenant / Plodder through midnight rain / Question me again." - Seamus Heaney

      by mahakali overdrive on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 03:38:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  thank you (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Preston S, mahakali overdrive

        that's the sort of thing I'm looking for, and I will check up on it.   But this isn't really coming out in the news stories...   Also, it seems as if the structural problems you discuss can't be changed overnight, alas.

        •  The news stories frustrate me (0+ / 0-)

          Of course, how many times have we see the media get this wrong? Laugh... And honestly, when I began discussing this in the first thread, there were some points I had wrong as well. I sought direct clarification, and, while unable to really cite my sources (other than the one I did), want it to be known that the students are onto something good here. They are to be commended. They should also push at the state level. But I've said that even if the state wasn't broke, we MIGHT still be seeing protests in the public universities here. But these days, students are in an insecure position and don't act with the same politicism so quickly. It sort of took this tuition hike to channel their frustrations.

          Check out the previous threads on this. There is plenty of disinformation in them as well, of course. But there's a great deal of conversation.

          And I've been privvy to the larger conversation, ad nauseum, for some time now, so none of this is a surprise to me.

          Administration and those in Business programs will also present very different views than I will.

          A great article written was by Judith Butler, published in the NYTimes. Try googling it. I see a definite lack of coordinated media information about all of this dissent; it reflects some lack of understanding about the economic tensions. But they're real and warranted. Try googling "vote of confidence" issues with various UC and CSU Presidents, and funding grievances. Curious what turns up. Been chafing me for years now.

          Best!

          "Dawn-sniffing revenant / Plodder through midnight rain / Question me again." - Seamus Heaney

          by mahakali overdrive on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 04:08:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I think the biggest frustration comes from... (2+ / 0-)

      an odd sense of priorities. The state spends more on jails than on schools, and as one organizer told us in September, "The message that the state is sending to kids is that it is more prepared to send you to the prison system than the education system."

      You are right that the admin salaries would do little to help the tuition hikes, but students aren't only upset about tuition hikes, they are also upset with plans to cut the budget for a lot of programs. In that case, yes, cutting admin salaries could actually save programs.

      Socially, Politically, and Culturally Conscious Videos: Sum of Change

      by SumOfChange on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 03:41:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes... (0+ / 0-)

        Admin salaries, and also the amount of admin jobs. Schools need this much bureaucracy? Really? They did without it for a long time. Ditto the level of law enforcement on campus, flashy new construction projects, etc.

        But the solution doesn't lie entirely in these cuts either. I think the general move toward cutting out Liberal Arts and Sciences, which are foundations of a University Education (and part of the GE pattern to achieve one), conjoined with the move toward private endowments for non-traditional programs, like Business/Law schools, are the problem.

        If the state public Universities want to be those type of institutions, that's fine. They can rely on those private endowments. But they need to be up front about it and not portray themselves as Liberal Arts (or Research 1) Universities, or service-region colleges.

        Look into what happened at SFSU this year with, I believe it was the drama department. It was published two weeks ago in the school newspaper there (I was on campus, visiting).

        "Dawn-sniffing revenant / Plodder through midnight rain / Question me again." - Seamus Heaney

        by mahakali overdrive on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 04:13:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  This student agitation is encouraging (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mahakali overdrive

    Any chance the anti war movement can be re catalyzed based on this model?

    "I happen to be a proponent of a single payer health care program." Pres. Goldman Sachs Obama, 6/30/03

    by formernadervoter on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 04:00:55 PM PST

  •  Peter Phillips on the roots of this crisis (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, mahakali overdrive

    As suspected, it's the rich arranging for massive tax cuts and hiding their wealth:

    The Higher Education Fiscal Crisis Protects the Wealthy
    by Peter Phillips / November 24th, 2009

    http://dissidentvoice.org/...

    "I happen to be a proponent of a single payer health care program." Pres. Goldman Sachs Obama, 6/30/03

    by formernadervoter on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 04:19:18 PM PST

    •  Thank you, Peter Phillips is a good guy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      formernadervoter, TomP

      ;)

      "Dawn-sniffing revenant / Plodder through midnight rain / Question me again." - Seamus Heaney

      by mahakali overdrive on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 04:21:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No the root cause is a suck economy. Get (0+ / 0-)

      the economy going again and the revenues flow in.  Make California more business friendly and revenues flow in. Blaming it on the rich doesn't address the fundamental problem.  The economy sucks.  

      Eat recycled food. It's good for the environment and OK for you.

      by thestructureguy on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 04:25:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Read downthread: 96% CA Professors disagree (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        formernadervoter, TomP, samanthab

        with your assessment that this is a problem with the CA state legislature, exclusively.

        I understand the ease of mistaking the two, and how they do contribute to one another, but the no confidence votes totally preceded the budget crisis (at least in many Universities).

        You can't claim that Economics and Pol Sci Professors, who are counted in these numbers, don't understand the root of this problem.

        "Dawn-sniffing revenant / Plodder through midnight rain / Question me again." - Seamus Heaney

        by mahakali overdrive on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 04:30:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Incorrect. Blaming the rich is the root (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TomP, mahakali overdrive

        and probably much of the rest of the tree as well.

        Don't forget, even when the economy doesn't suck, these elite privileges are firmly in place.   And for many people even when the economy doesn't suck, it sucks for them.

        "I happen to be a proponent of a single payer health care program." Pres. Goldman Sachs Obama, 6/30/03

        by formernadervoter on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 04:31:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  How the wealthy hide their money (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TomP

        and the rest of us struggle as our daily costs keep going up (and notice how they aren't reflected in the CPI).

        And, what this does is perpetuate inequality (our public school system essentially does it's part to further this as well with it's focus on drill and kill instruction and testing to line kids up for the already existing job slots).

        Rachel Keeler has the scoop:

        http://www.dollarsandsense.org/...

        "I happen to be a proponent of a single payer health care program." Pres. Goldman Sachs Obama, 6/30/03

        by formernadervoter on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 04:42:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  For once I'd like to see a protest that (0+ / 0-)

    gives solutions instead of great film at 11. I'm a parent of a UCLA student and I want to hear some solutions.  

    Eat recycled food. It's good for the environment and OK for you.

    by thestructureguy on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 04:22:37 PM PST

    •  Write to President Yudof (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      samanthab

      and express your concerns. Demand he fixes his confidence rating with the 96% of his employees who have none, or risk losing students, as well as more Professors. UCLA has already lost some over this. Berkeley as well.

      "Dawn-sniffing revenant / Plodder through midnight rain / Question me again." - Seamus Heaney

      by mahakali overdrive on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 04:32:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pres. Yudof recieved a 96% no confidence vote (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    formernadervoter, samanthab

    http://blogs.csun.edu/...

    But when labor unions representing about 70,000 UC employees said Thursday that 96 percent of staff and faculty at all 10 campuses had signed a vote of no confidence in UC President Mark Yudof, the message was clear: Employees at the public university are angry.

    Students are right to be angry.

    But so are UC employees (including staff).

    Usually a vote of no confidence like this is expected to follow with a resignation. President Yudof, despite only having a 4% vote of confidence from his employees, is still there.

    I'd say that this signals a serious problem.

    CSU employees are on par here, with a 79% vote of no confidence in Chancellor Reed, and only a 4% vote of actual confidence in him (the equivalent of President Yudof, in that system):

    http://www.turlockcitynews.com/...

    Of those voting, only 4% said they had confidence in the Chancellor’s leadership. 79% voted "no confidence" and 17% responded "don’t know."

    Say what you want about students, whomever reads this, but when 96% of your Ph.D. level employees say you aren't fit to be their boss, you should probably step down.

    The problem simply isn't in the CA state budget crisis. That's an aspect of this. But CA state Professors, including Economics Professors, study these matters closely. Being research-oriented types and all. This is a giant, systemic mess.

    Look to these staff votes of no confidence to understand the student dissent.

    "Dawn-sniffing revenant / Plodder through midnight rain / Question me again." - Seamus Heaney

    by mahakali overdrive on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 04:28:12 PM PST

    •  Oh, that's such a damned distortion (0+ / 0-)

      In the Turlock Article, there's a statement about Prof's voting to furlough because of the CA state budget situation. Actually, many voted to keep adjuncts on, since they were the ones being threatened to be cut. Yeah, this was one of those things where someone put the interests of others before their own, in many cases. But to say it was all just a pool of money that couldn't be spread around... there were PLENTY of Professors who would have axed the adjuncts, guest lecturers, etc, and not furloughed. But it came down to a moral issue for so many.

      So that's more nuanced than it's being presented by this media story as well.

      "Dawn-sniffing revenant / Plodder through midnight rain / Question me again." - Seamus Heaney

      by mahakali overdrive on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 04:44:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fix the Problem (0+ / 0-)

    You can protest all you like.  Its will do nothing.  The hike in tuition is because CA is ungovernable, and cannot raise revenue.

    If you want to return to the halcyon days of public education in the CA you must:

    1.  repeal Prop 13
    1. Dump initiatives
    1.  Dump the 2/3 needed to increase taxes.

    That will fix the problem.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site