'Spring broke' protest interrupts UC regents meeting

(KGO)
March 29, 2012 2:03:56 PM PDT
With people stripping down to bikinis, tossing beach balls, shouting and arrests, you would have thought there was a wild beach party at the UCSF Mission Bay campus Thursday morning, but it was actually the scene of a spirited UC regents meeting.

Student protestors bared both their skin and their feelings at the the meeting which actually melted down before it even started. The angry students were shouting, claiming that they were not given enough time to speak during a public comment period. The regents told them if they did not come to order, they would end the meeting and leave, which is exactly what they did.

That is when students started protesting with a spring break theme, proclaiming themselves "spring broke." They are not on board with Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative even though it could mean more money for the UC system. They feel it is a backroom deal between Gov. Brown and the regents and that the money would not necessarily trickle down to them or prevent future tuition hikes.

However, the students say they never really got to voice those opinions because the meeting was not a democratic process and they are happy they shut it down. "I don't think the meeting is where change is going to come. The only change that comes from those meetings, as I said, are raising fees and cutting workers and services," UC student Nikolai Smith told ABC7. "I don't think that's actually benefitting public education. If anything, that's destroying it. So, if these meetings don't happen, I consider that a success. I'd say valuable meetings are ones that bring together students and workers in the community to actually decide how their public universities should be run or their tax dollars should be spent."

Students tossed around beach balls and had their "spring break party" for about ten minutes. All the while, police gave them warnings that they would have to leave. They eventually called it an unlawful assembly and students filed out into the hallway and that is where the most trouble occurred. At least three students were arrested.

The meeting eventually resumed and was being broadcast through loudspeakers so students outside could listen in. As off 11 a.m., around two dozen students had gathered quietly to listen.


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