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UC Protests Against Fee Hikes, Cutbacks Enter Second Day

by Student Activism (repost)
Yesterday saw a committee of the University of California’s board of regents meet on the UCLA campus to approve huge student fee increases. Hundreds of students protested outside the building, and fourteen were arrested in the meeting itself. UC police used tasers and batons on the crowd while helicopters circled above.
Today will likely be bigger.

Yesterday students across California staged local campus demonstrations in opposition to the regents. A thousand rallied and marched at Berkeley, briefly occupying a building on campus. At Santa Cruz, hundreds sat down in the street to block the campus’s two entrances. Members of several UC labor unions initiated a strike in protest against the regents actions.

Last night students from across California started making their way to Los Angeles.

Yesterday’s protests were local. Today students from around the state are gathering at UCLA for one centralized action. Protesters created a tent city in the center of campus, where students listened to bands and speakers, painted signs, and prepared for this morning’s protests.

It’s a little before six o’clock in the morning in California, but the first news of the day has already broken: about five hours ago, activists occupied Campbell Hall, a building a few hundred yards from the tent city.

8:20 am | The students occupying Campbell Hall have released a statement. They say they will be issuing no demands: “We have to learn not to tip toe through a space which ought by right to belong to everyone.” A post on Indymedia says that thirty-five students are participating in the occupation, and that the occupiers have renamed the building Carter-Huggins Hall, after two Black Panthers who were murdered there in 1969. One report on Twitter says that students from five California campuses are participating in the Campbell Hall occupation.

8:40 am | Reports from yesterday evening suggest that students at UC Santa Cruz were gearing up for an overnight occupation of the Kresge Town Hall on that campus. I haven’t yet seen any updates from UCSC this morning.

8:50 am | The Los Angeles Times has posted photos from the Campbell occupation, including one of a banner declaring it Carter-Huggins Hall. UCLA’s chancellor has released a statement announcing that Campbell Hall will be closed for the day, and asking university community members to “please stay away” from there and Covel Commons.
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Following the Civil Rights Movement--from the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978, when the Baby Boomers started becoming homeowners, to November 13, 2003 the day Arnold Schwarzenegger took office and rescinded the state's vehicle license fees, appeasing the Baby Boomers appetite for fine cars and boats--we have been unraveling California's educational system. It's time for the Boomers the fess up.

I urge students to ask their parents and the grands about the California system of the 50s, 60s and 70s, before greed became the upwardly mobile mantra of the middle classes of all races. Ask them about the plethora of free electives in high schools (including languages, journalism, photography and every sport imaginable), the overstocked libraries, the ease with which one got into college and the abundant jobs that were waiting when they got out.

Through the investments of the Greatest Generation--you know, those Depression/World War II era kids--the Baby Boomers enjoyed the greatest education public money could buy. So, ask them about their experiences and what they plan to do to help you preserve these freedoms. Don't we all realize that our future depends on your success? Or, are Baby Boomers so self-consumed that we resent our youth? Naw, I don't want to believe that we're eating our young.

In addition to physical protests, how about a deluge of letters to each of the U.C. Board of Regent members? Their addresses are all here: Let a few thousand letters show up on their doorsteps from generations of Californians and I'll bet'cha that we'll get their attention.

by Gabi Kirk
Here's what's going on at the UCSC campus.

Last night, over 100 students stayed the night in Kresge Town Hall in a peaceful protest.

Today around 2:45 PM, Kerr Hall, which contains the offices of the administration, vice-chancellors, and chancellors, was occupied by students. Staff were evacuated but the chancellor and vice-chancellor are still in their office. Currently there are hundreds of students in the lobby who have created a list of demands and are trying to give them to the vice-chancellor.

Police took no action in either protest and overall the attitude of the students has been passionate but calm. We hope our actions raise the visibility of our cause to the rest of the campus community, Santa Cruz, and the state. We stand in solidarity with students, staff, and faculty who are affected by cuts at UCs, CSUs, and community colleges.

If you live in the Santa Cruz area, come out to Kerr Hall and show your support! Here are directions to the building once you have gotten to campus:
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