Hundreds of angry UCLA students gathered around the Los Angeles and Davis campuses Thursday to protest an unprecedented 32-percent undergraduate tuition hike.
The board of regents approved the increase as a way to deal with a budget shortfall, but concerned students, faculty, and staff say it unfairly targets lower and middle class students and restricts access to higher education to the wealthy.
Los Angeles, California (CNN) — Angry students at the Davis, California, branch of the University of California refused to vacate the school’s administration building Thursday evening in a show of defiance and protest over a 32-percent undergraduate tuition hike instituted by the California Board of Regents earlier in the day.
About 50 students remained in the building, which was supposed to close by 5 p.m. PT (8 p.m. ET), UC Davis spokeswoman Claudia Morain told CNN. At one point, as many as 150 students were at the building protesting the tuition increase, she said. She said she hopes campus police can resolve the issue without the need to make arrests.
CNN affiliate KCRA captured footage of students outside the building shouting, “Who’s university? Our university!”
Nearly 400 miles south and hours earlier, hundreds of students marched and chanted against the increase while outside the UCLA building in Los Angeles where regents met to vote on the hike.
Protesting students and others say the increased tuition will hurt working and middle-class students who benefit from state-funded education. But officials argue that a fee increase and deep cuts in school spending are necessary because of a persistent budget crisis that has forced reductions across California’s state government.
“We’re fired up. Can’t take it no more,” students chanted as they marched and waved signs at UCLA. “Education only for the rich,” one sign read.
After the vote, students rushed to the parking decks to stage a sit-in to block regents’ vehicles from leaving. Campus police and California Highway Patrol officers in riot gear stood nearby.
As one regent member walked out, students surrounded his path shouted, “Shame on you, shame on you.”
The situation ended without incident as students gradually left the scene.