After clashing with police during a near riot yesterday, about 200 protesters are gathered at UCLA again today, as regents vote on a 32 percent increase in student fees. The increase would affect every UC campus and mean an additional $2,500 for each full-time student over two years, according to the Associated Press.
“We’re not banks,” said Victor Sanchez, president of the UCLA Student Association, who told the AP his campus has already raised fees more than 160 percent over the last six years. “Our families come from low income backgrounds. We have people who come from communities of color. We have folks who just cannot afford to remain here at this public institution.”
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Despite the passionate cries of students, however, Board of Regents members are insisting their hands are tied. State aid has been cut drastically, and California faces a nearly $21 billion budget gap over the next 18 months. UC President Mark Yudof has expressed sympathy over the proposed fee hikes but insists the matter is beyond his control. "When you have no choice, you have no choice," Yudof told reporters. "I'm sorry."
So far, 14 protesters have been arrested (on Wednesday), all at UCLA. Two students and several police have sustained minor injuries, but no major injuries have been reported.