Students shut down UC Santa Cruz over tuition hike

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The protesters at UC Santa Cruz blocked both roads into campus early Thursday morning, forcing all classes to be canceled as many students prepare for final exams.

The protesters at UC Santa Cruz blocked both roads into campus early Thursday morning, forcing all classes to be canceled as many students prepare for final exams.

They began at the crack of dawn and have held steady throughout the day, blocking off all entrances to UC Santa Cruz.

"We're not going to let business as usual continue, as long as these fee hikes are on the table," said student Robert Cavooris.
PHOTOS: UC students hold "96 Hours of Action"

Protesters are seeking to raisie awareness about tuition hikes, policing and what they say is the mismanagement of the UC system.

"The only way that trend is going to be reversed is if students stand up and say they've had enough," said Cavooris.

Campus officials sent out an alert Thursday morning to students and staff canceling classes and warning the community to stay off campus.

"These kinds of things are very disruptive to a lot of people. As a university, we have research to conduct, we have classes to teach. People live on campus and have appointments they need to get to and child
care," explained Scott Hernandez-Jason, a UCSC spokesperson.

Second year student Rhys Morgan is currently on crutches. Protesters wouldn't let his friends pick him up, so he too, had to hike.

"If you decide to leave campus, you're stuck off campus for the rest of the day because they won't let you through, which is pretty frustrating," said Morgan.

East Bay resident Katie Buchanan came to the university for work, not knowing what to expect.

"It definitely cut into my day. I won't be able to see as many people as I wanted to because I have to walk 45 minutes to my car," she said.

Students say this is part of a movement called "96 Hours of Action."

For four days, they've been holding events to try and raise awareness about issues like tuition hikes, policing, what they say is mismanagement of the UC system.

"I would like to see them prioritize departments over their salaries, prioritize education services in general and just keeping certain programs alive," said student Breeann MacDonald.

On Tuesday, a small group branched off from the rest and chained themselves to cans of concrete on Highway 1. They snarled traffic for hours. CHP had to jackhammer them out. Six people were arrested and according to other protesters, they were slapped with a 14 day suspension.

University officials won't confirm if those protesters were suspended, but did tell ABC7 News that the students can be held accountable on campus for actions off campus.

On Wednesday, students from both U.C. Berkeley and Oakland Technical High School organized two demonstrations on campus.

VIDEO: UC President Janet Napolitano reflects on UC's future
For full coverage on recent tuition hikes, click here.
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