The UC Board of Regents will be meeting Tuesday through Thursday to discuss and vote on, among other things, the proposed 8 percent hike in student fees that UC President Mark Yudof announced Nov. 8.
These additional fee hikes are in response to the lack of state funding for the university.
“Let’s be clear. These won’t be the last tough decisions the university will face. But they are essential steps upward out of a hole that was a long time in digging,” Yudof said in an open letter to California.
The proposed increases will amount to $822 per student, coming into effect during the 2011-2012 fiscal year. However, not all students would feel the impact immediately. The increases will be covered by grants for the first year to families that make up to $120,000 a year.
In anticipation of the hike, UC-wide protests are already being planned, with a global Facebook event already numbering 2,000 plus attendees as of Sunday.
Hundreds of students and UC employees are expected to stage a protest in San Francisco on Wednesday at the UCSF Mission Bay campus, where the regents’ meeting will be held. According to a UC Student Association press release, UC employees fear pay cuts and pension decreases in retirement benefits.
“The regents are proposing to cut our paychecks by giving us no wage increases and taking more money out for a pension that mostly helps others,” said Amatullah Alaji-Sabrie, legal assistant at UC Berkeley and representative for clerical workers bargaining for a contract, in a statement. “For low wage workers they are proposing cuts to retirement benefits which will effectively cut retiree income in half. UC should negotiate fair contracts and allow staff to retire with dignity, not push staff further into poverty and force them to depend on state assistance.”
Brian Sparks, senior international relations major, said he would be in attendance.
“The solution is to not raise fees. I don’t think they have to be raised at this point. We’ve already raised fees excessively,” Sparks said.
Sparks noted the state has already restored $370 million in funding to UC and that the regents consolidated administration and overhauled financial aid systems in May, saving an estimated $500 million over 5 years.
“I think it’s time we start rolling back fees,” he said.
A teach-out is planned at UC Davis on Tuesday on the quad, the manifesto of which is located at BicycleBarricade.wordpress.com.
A post dated Nov. 12 on Bicycle Barricade mentions the recent student riots in England which turned violent. About 50,000 students were protesting a proposed tuition jump to £9,000 ($14,400) pounds, about three times the current rate.
“A question for the critics of direct action: when has a major social movement ever been compromised by a strike, a sit-in, an occupation, or a riot? Did the Civil Rights movement end because of the riots in Birmingham? Did the Free Speech movement collapse when 800 students occupied Sproul Hall and were arrested? No. These actions don’t hurt the movement – they are the movement,” said the anonymous writer.
CECILIO PADILLA can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.