Students protest at UC regents meetings

November 28, 2011 6:52:40 PM PST
Try as they might, University of California regents could not escape the ire of students, who made their anger very clear as regents met on several campuses Monday.

The regents decided to cancel their meeting two weeks ago, because they feared the demonstrations would lead to violence. Still, there were interruptions.

For security reasons, the UC regents attended meetings at one of four campuses. That way there were no large crowds gathered in one place.

Students made several demands following charges of excessive force by police during recent demonstrations.

"In the future, at all campuses there will not be any act of violence by police during a non-violence protest, even if there is civil disobedience," one student said. "Violence should never be used and bucks stop with you guys."

UC President Mark Yudof and the regents were then asked to sign a pledge asking reforms to Proposition 13 and a higher tax on the wealthiest 1 percent.

Yudof said he would review the demands.

But when the public comment period ended, students decided to take over the meeting. The protesters were so loud, the regents could not continue with their meeting and they cleared the room. The only one to stay was Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, also a regent. Newsom was invited to join the protesters and sat with them for a period of time.

After the interruption, the regents eventually resumed and voted to ask the state legislature for more funding for the 10 campus system.

Gov. Jerry Brown has already asked the Department of Finance to negotiate with Yudof. Yudof is trying to avoid any tuition hike.

"I don't want to privatize the university; I'm sick and tired of Sacramento privatizing the University of California," Yudof said. "I didn't cut our budget by $900 million. That was cut in the last two years by the state of California. So if they have a gripe, that's my nightmare, that it will be privatized."

The protesters decided not to confront UC police and eventually left the building.

Yudof has asked former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, now a prominent civil rights attorney, to be part of the task force that will investigate charges of excessive force by police. Reynoso has accepted.


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