Several hundred UC Berkeley students staged a walkout Monday, Nov. 24, to protest proposed tuition increases across the UC system.
As part of the walkout, a group around 200-strong took the protest to the streets of downtown Berkeley, starting at Civic Center Park and walking up Center Street toward the campus at around 1 p.m.
Police had stopped traffic at the corner of Center and Shattuck Avenue, and traffic was disrupted by the demonstration, said Siciliana Trevino who was on the scene and shot the video below.
The University of California’s Board of Regents voted Nov. 20 to authorize systemwide tuition increases of up to 5% per year through 2019-20 over the objections of Gov. Jerry Brown, who offered to increase state funding by 4% per year over the next two years only if tuition was frozen at the current rate.
Students across the UC system began protesting the move immediately after the decision was made public. In Berkeley, it began six days ago when a group of students began an occupation of Wheeler Hall on campus.
A statement released by student activist group Open UC said: “We oppose the UC Regents’ intention to increase UC Berkeley tuition by 27.6% over five years, despite opposition from student and faculty groups statewide. This would increase UC Berkeley yearly tuition to $15,560 for in-state students and nearly $45,000 for out-of-state students by 2020, excluding living costs. Through a facilitated democratic process we voted Wednesday night to ratify the following demands: 1. No tuition hikes, 2. Full transparency of UC Budget under California Assembly Bill 94, and 3. Drop all charges against Jeff Noven, arrested at the November 19th Regent’s meeting under false charges.”
UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks has said he fully supports the regents’ plan. In a Nov. 20 statement, he wrote: “It is a necessary response to the massive state disinvestment in the University of California. If the University of California at Berkeley is to maintain its academic preeminence along with its commitment to access, affordability and public service, we need a sensible budget plan. The comprehensive tuition plan balances a much-needed though moderate increase in tuition with an equally necessary degree of predictability and stability for students and their families.”
Dirks stressed that net tuition for low-income students will actually decrease over the next five years, “while the vast majority of California students from families earning less than $150,000 a year will see no increase.”
The Daily Californian is following the Berkeley protests closely and providing regular updates.
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