Students walk out of classes to protest potential tuition hikes

BRIANA NGO / AGGIE
BRIANA NGO / AGGIE

Students respond to termination of UC tuition freeze

On Monday, Nov. 21, approximately 30 students gathered at the Memorial Union and marched through the Coffee House to Mrak Hall from 12 to 1 p.m. to protest potential UC tuition hikes.

The protest, which was advertised in a Facebook event for UC Davis students, was inspired by the UCSB Student Activist Network’s own tuition protest.

“Two years ago, the UC tried to increase tuition across the board [by 5 percent] every year for the following five years,” the Santa Barbara Student Activist Network stated on Facebook. “After students mobilized, the UC instituted a tuition freeze for in-state, undergraduate students. That tuition freeze is now over, which means it’s time, once again, to mobilize.”

BRIANA NGO / AGGIE
BRIANA NGO / AGGIE

The UCSB Student Activist Network called for UC students to get involved in the tuition hike protests.

“We need to show the UC administration that students will not settle for another partial tuition freeze, but demand a rollback on tuition,” the UCSB Student Activist Network said. “The UC Administration, the UC Regents and the State of California need to prove that they prioritize students by addressing the structural problems faced when funding the UC.”

UC Davis students participated in the walk-out with chants such as “Hey hey UCD, no more tuition fees,” “Education is a right, and so we’re gonna fight” and “Hey hey, ho ho, tuition hikes have got to go.”

Dexter Hampton, a first-year environmental science major, believes that the tuition surges are absurd, especially since he is already paying a significantly higher amount as an out-of-state student.

“I came here from Ohio and what do I get? $40,000 a year in tuition,” Hampton said. “I’m going to be in debt the rest of my life trying to fix the problems that these bastards are creating.”

BRIANA NGO / AGGIE
BRIANA NGO / AGGIE

Once the protesters made it to Mrak Hall, students spoke to the group about how administrators have large salaries while students work hard to afford college. Demonstrators chanted: “Hey, hey UCD, cut those admin salaries” and “Your paychecks are big, your brains are small, your ivory tower soon will fall.”

Matthew Bridges, a third-year transfer ecologic management and restoration major who participated in the protest, suggested students write a letter to campus administrators informing them of student frustrations regarding inflated tuition rates.

“I’m here because I don’t think the university should be increasing tuition when there’s a lot of other inefficiencies in the system that could be cut,” Bridges said. “The students shouldn’t be the ones who are taking that burden, especially if they have to take on debt.”

Bridges said that, although the protest was not well-organized and had an ambiguous message, it is important for all students to express their opinion on the tuition issue.

“The fact that we made our presence [known] and there were high-level people walking around [Mrak Hall], to see us […] was effective,” Bridges said.

Students who participated in the walk-out plan to protest further moving forward to ensure that their voices are heard.

Written by: Jeanna Totah — campus@theaggie.org