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Regents' Meeting Protest--Students and Workers Demand Stop to Fee Increases and Benefits Cuts


Several hundred  UC students and workers gathered at the Regent's meeting in San Francisco today to protest a proposed fee increase and cuts to retirement benefits.  Protesters and UC Police clashed when the crowd rushed barricades and the police responded with pepper spray and batons.  At one point, a UC Police officer felt threatened enough to pull his gun and aim it at protesters.  

Unfortunately, the UC administration and the Regents have refused requests for legitimate dialogue on these issues, and have ignored student, worker and faculty input on their cost shifting proposals.  The sense of inevitability of this fee increase, coupled with the recent history of large fee increases, quickly led students to adopt civil disobedience tactics in their effort to resist and publicize the impacts of fee increases.  UC-AFT supports students and workers who employ civil disobedience tactics in their protests, but we do not condone violence in any form, from police or protesters.

The coverage of today's events largely focuses on the conflict rather than the issues.  If this fee increase passes, students will be paying 56% more than they did three years ago.  Independent studies show that the cost of undergraduate education is around $8000 per year.  The university is currently collecting $11,000 from students and an additional $10,000 from the State.  The university has admitted that the surplus fee income, due to its unrestricted status, is used as collateral for construction bonds, and possibly used directly on construction projects.  Over the last two years, as fees were increasing dramatically, the quality of education at UC declined in several measurable ways.  Students have a right to be angry.  

Here's a sample of  media coverage and videos from the protest at today's Regents' meeting.

ABC News with Video:

SF Chronicle:

Emotional confrontation:

Daily Cal:

Raw  footage:

Police with gun: