UC Davis students protest tuition hikes

DAVIS, Calif.

Dozens of UC Davis students and their supporters marched to the financial aid office to take it over; they say they wanted to hit the university at its core.

"We're going to stop business as usual, use our power to do that until our demands are met," said march organizer Monica Smith.

The march was just one of a number of activities called for during a one-day general strike on the Davis campus to denounce the use of pepper spray on quietly-seated protesters more than a week ago.

They've now also added the rising UC tuition rates to their cause. Students were encouraged to skip class, which David Buscho happily did. He was one of the many doused with pepper spray.

"It's to show that we will not stand for an administration that is not accountable for its actions and that we do not stand for tuition increases," said Buscho.

But for the most part, students went to class, cycling as usual or working on projects that are due. While many sympathize with the movement, this is a bad week to miss class.

"You don't want to fall behind, and it's right before finals," said UC Davis grad student Sarah Sahlaney. "So you really can't afford to miss something that might be important."

Under heavy security where visitors were carefully screened and searched, UC Davis was among the four campuses allowed to voice their concerns via teleconference to the UC regents. The chancellor who ordered the encampment removed, listened quietly.

"While our education becomes of less quality, we cannot sit passively and let that happen," said UC Davis Ph.D. student Ethan Evans.

But a tuition hike may be unavoidable considering state tax revenues are lagging again and a $100 million mid-year cut to UC will almost certainly kick in.

"None of us look forward to the cuts, but if the revenues continue to come in at the rate that they have, they're an unfortunate necessity," said Assm. Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles.

There is nothing to stop the $100 million cut from happening, not even protests or general strikes. The automatic mid-year cuts are already written into law.

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