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UC regents approve fee hike amid loud student protests [Updated]

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Amid loud student protests that roiled the UCLA campus, the UC Board of Regents this afternoon approved a 32% increase in student fees.

The fee hike of $2,500, or 32%, will come in two steps by next fall. That would bring the basic UC education fees to about $10,300, plus about another $1,000 for campus-based charges, for a total that would be about triple the UC cost a decade ago. Room, board and books can add another $16,000.

Only student regent Jesse Bernal voted against the undergraduate fees.

The noise of protesters came through the window as the regents voted. It was only lightly discussed, with UC President Mark G. Yudof urging that students explore all the financial-aid possibilities so they don’t get scared away or drop out.

Groups of UC students from several other campuses arrived in Westwood to join a demonstration against the fee hike, and a group of protesters was occupying a UCLA classroom building.

UCLA officials declared Campbell Hall, where the sit-in continued, closed for the day. Inside, about 40 to 50 students who had chained the doors shut shortly after midnight were issuing e-mail statements.

“We choose to fight back, to resist, where we find ourselves, the place where we live and work, our university,” their statement said. Campus police surrounded the classroom building, but no arrests were made.

Meanwhile, across campus, a crowd of several hundred gathered outside Covel Commons, where the regents were meeting.  Students and UC employees chanted such slogans as “Whose university? Our university!”

Among them was Tommy Le, a fourth-year student at UC Santa Cruz, who left his campus at 3 a.m. today in a convoy of two buses headed south. Le, 21, an American studies major from El Monte, said he was worried about how he being able to afford the higher charges, starting with an additional $585 for the rest of the school year.

“It’s adding more stress and more burden,” said Le, who said he works two part-time jobs and sends money home to help his family. The fee increase, he said, would be “a lose-lose situation.”

[Updated at 1:33 p.m.: As news spread that the regents had approved the increase, hundreds of student protesters gathered in the courtyard outside the building and yelled, “Shame on you! Shame on you!”

After the vote, Jasmine Guerrero, a freshman at UC Santa Barbara, said she feared she would have to drop out of school.

“I can’t afford it,” said Guerrero, who wore a red bandanna across her face. “They (the regents) don’t care. They’re laughing at us.”

Gaby Arita, a senior at UCLA, said she recently lost a $4,000 grant to pay for her final quarter of school and is worried about finding the money to graduate. She said she is working two jobs to pay for her education.

“I’m on my own,” she said. “I can’t ask my family. In this economy, no one is stable.”

Mark Villela, a junior at UCLA, also said he would probably have to drop out of school and attend community college in his hometown of Palmdale.]

-- Larry Gordon and Amina Khan in Westwood

More photos > > >

Audio: Statement from demonstrators

Audio: Charles Alexande, UCLA Vice Provost for Student Diversity and Director of Academic Advancement Program

Photo: Elliot Goldstein, right, of Berkeley protests for the "future of education" as UC police officers watch the crowd during a regents meeting at UCLA.  Credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (193)

The 26 Regents do not receive a salary. It is a volunteer board position. They have not received raises (you can't get a raise if you don't make a salary).

ALL UC Staff (including administrators) are taking pay cuts. Their pay is not being increased (this is bullshit put out by union leaders trying to whip up hysteria).

Next year, there will likely be MORE pay cuts and layoffs because our projected state deficit is $21 billion dollars.

The vast majority of the cuts (for staff) will come in the form of furlough days — as few as seven for academic-year faculty with salaries under $40,000 and 11 days for full-year staff in the same pay bracket (a 4 percent pay reduction), to as many as 26 for employees earning more than $240,000 (a 10 percent pay reduction). Members of the senior management group — chancellors, deans, and others in key leadership positions — will get 10 furlough days, regardless of the size of their salary reductions.

More than 700 employees have already been laid off system-wide.

The state ALREADY cut $500 million from higher ed. This is just the beginning of the shared pain we all face.

I'm sorry your fees are being increased but my spouse is one of the "managers" who just took an 8% pay cut. We are all in this together and our state is insolvent.

The fee hikes represent a 21st-century attempt during rough economic times to ensure young, rich, white people get to stay on top of the social ladder by ensuring the top-tier schools remain accessible only to them. Sure, many white students are affected by the hikes, but its largely the ethnic-minority students who will get shut out of the UC system. White people in this country only care about maintaining whatever hold they have on the social pecking order and refuse to admit they aren't God's gift to humanity, thus, they pull nonsense like this to make sure only their lily-white children have access to the best schools and the best jobs.

Joe -

You confuse your skewed and selfish version of capitalism with democracy. Sure, the wealthy can buy their way to the top. But this country was founded upon equality and liberty for all - public institutions are meant to allow that open access.

In your version of the world, only the wealthy would prosper, controlling our country with a false sense of power (entitlement). That is fascism my friend - not good ol' American Democracy.

It's easy to blame the folks at the top who make a lot of money, but the truth is that's no way to solve the problem. 26 regents making $500k each is only $13M total - and we've got an $830M budget shortfall thanks to the cuts coming from Sacramento. You could fire every regent, dean, provost, and sports coach in the whole UC system, and you'd come nowhere near making up the budget gap.

The solution is not to blame the administrators of UC, it's to blame the government in Sacramento which remains too dysfunctional and systemically flawed to address the state's gaping budget crisis. The problem is far bigger than just the UC system.

This is really scary. We are regressing and are headed back to the old high society system where only the rich could afford a college education.

If the government cannot find a solution to this dilemma in 20 years the average college graduate will be white, male and rich (or upper middle class).

Face it we are in a depression.

The fact of the matter is this. CA is Bankrupt. As it is the students in the UC system receive quality, and in some cases elite, education at a fraction of what other comparable private institutions cost. The education that these people receive is heavily subsidized by taxpayer dollars. Tax revenue is down. The state is broke. Cuts need to be made. Some of them need to be made at UC. Sorry.

Why do people in this country think everything should suddenly be free? I'm pretty sure that even in the UC system they don't teach students that money grows on trees.

People are angry that they are finally feeling the squeeze of years reckless fiscal policy in CA. They should be, but we have made our beds. Now we have to sleep in them.

They should remember the spirit of their protest when they go to the ballot box during the next election. When they see a slew of wasteful gov't programs up for consideration. They should be taught that they need to invest themselves in knowing what is happening in Sacramento and how these bureaucrats have squandered our hard earned money. This tuition hike will teach them more about reality than every class they take.

At the end of the day they are still getting one hell of a deal. Tuition at Berkley is going to be about $25,000. How does that compare to Brown or even USC?

Get back to class.

The State is bankrupt, largely as a result of decades of providing free health care to millions of destitute immigrants via Medi-Cal. Our budget has finally broken under the strain. This is the result.

Isn't illegal immigration wonderful?

The State is bankrupt, largely as a result of decades of providing free health care to millions of destitute immigrants via Medi-Cal. Our budget has finally broken under the strain. This is the result.

Isn't illegal immigration wonderful?

People who care about the affordability of higher education in California need to start worrying about the underlying problem: a state near bankruptcy; not the symptom: budget cuts. Those protesters should acknowledge that the regents have very few options for managing their predicament, and instead should get more involved in figuring out how to get our state financially healthy again. The health of California higher education will follow. If people care about the future of the state, which currently is in extreme jeopardy, there should be more shared sacrifice in saving money so that balancing the budget doesn't rely on drastic cuts to important services. People should start supporting propositions that help our budget and stop supporting wasteful ones.

The state of California has one of the highest tax rates in the country, and miraculously they still don't have enough money. The problem is directly related to the ridiculously wasteful politicians that have bankrupted this state and want to erase their incompetence by taxing the bejesus out of us all. This tuition hike is just one more example of a tax on Americans that choose to achieve something in life. The state of California all the way up to the federal government are on a rollercoaster ride of spending that is going to leave everyone out in the cold except for bureaucrats on the dole like these regents. And they keep want to cram more of it down our throuts--higher taxes for Californians, higher taxes on all Americans to pay for a bloated health care bill. All of it is outrageous.

If you participated in the protest I salute you. Our universities are gradually being taken over as vetting grounds for the elite.

Sadly I must give you more bad news. I suspect your recent voting record will make the following information hard to swallow:

http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/contrib.php?id=N00009638&cycle2=2008&goButt2.x=10&goButt2.y=8&goButt2=Submit

It would appear the chickens have come home to roost.

Here is a news flash......Education funding is a huge percentage of the state and federal budgets. While it is important you may want to consider that you (the students) only pay a small amount of the cost of your edecuation. Because of the economy there are Billions of dollars in taxes and fees that are not coming in. There are millions losing the jobs, homes, and business's. Don't expect that college should be exempt from the pain that everyone else is going through. Be glad that your college is still open. Where is the money to support education that president obama promised?? Many of you voted for a president that spends Trillions to support banks and corporations, but nothing to help people keep ther jobs or homes.....or be able to get affordable education either.

Let me guess ... these are the same college students who just voted in pres. Obama's big government spending liberal government which is 'sister to' the big government spending liberal government in Sacramento that has neglectfully governed the once most promising state in the country into this travesty the students are protesting. When you vote in politicians who can't say no and make the word priority meaningless, the MONEY RUNS OUT! Instead of protesting what overpaid UC regents are forced to do b/c of the clowns in Sacramento, vote for people who will make a stand and say no to every spending opportunity that crosses their desk.

The issue is California is a bankrupt state -- in terms of leadership, governance, and like we'll witness again soon: their budget. And the answer is not to raise taxes! California is already among the highest in taxes paid in the nation. Raising taxes will simply accelerate the exodus of tax paying individuals and businesses.

I absolutely loved the student sign that said "I can't pay anymore"......and as much as I appreciate what the students have to pay......as a taxpayer, "I can't pay anymore".\

Wake up Obama Administration (for whom most of these uneducated students voted), and you idiot Democrats ruining California (for whom most of these uneducated students voted)...STOP stealing my taxes!!!!

I have a family to support....and yes, private college tuition for my kids, with another to go...I am done paying for illegals and the rest of the world.

Sorry kids at UCLA, our State and Federal Government have already stolen us blind, time for YOUR mom and dad to step up .......welcome to reality.

This is in response to "Reality Check." What part of PUBLIC UNIVERSITY do you not understand????? Who are you to tell someone what university to choose and where to attend?

A qualified student should be able to attend a public university where ever they choose in order to get the most bang for their education buck.


It's time for people to grow up and learn that they are responsible for themselves. What you are now experiencing is the way life really is -- a STRUGGLE. Real life is filled with strife and disappointments. Your parents and the taxpayers have covered up too much of what real life is like for far too long. Your fairytale life is over and true life is smashing you in your faces. It's rough all over. Deal with it like those of us (seniors) had to do.

1) It's done, you can't do anything about it, stop whining
2) Start complaining about all of the social programs that waste billions each year on people who don't do anything with their lives except drink and do drugs.
3) Start complaining about the BILLIONS that illegal aliens take from your state each year.
4) Start making the state be responsible and conservative with your states taxes with your vote. I don't care who you vote for, but, how about someone who doesn't put their political party or race first. Next year, your votes can make a big difference in how your state ends up. Liberal spending is not the way to run a states coffers.
4) Get rid of your dumb 3 strikes law. How stupid to lock people up for 25 years for drugs or less. That's why the budget for the prisons is so high.
5) Eliminate unions in your state. All they want is what the leaders of UC want, more money without any reason for deserving it. Unions are destroyers of America.

Yes, stop whining and do what's necessary to change your state into one that runs it's affairs in accordance with the wishes of the citizens, not the special interests or activists who only care for their own.

watchdog___ I am also wondering why these kids aren't protesting the war. Unlike my generation in Viet Nam we stood up and were heard. I think we have collectively a raised a more materialistic youth who mainly care about grades, money, jobs, designer duds, electronics, etc. and for the most part, fail to see the big picture and are afraid to rebel against the status quo.

watchdog___ I am also wondering why these kids aren't protesting the war. Unlike my generation in Viet Nam we stood up and were heard. I think we have collectively a raised a more materialistic youth who mainly care about grades, money, jobs, designer duds, electronics, etc. and for the most part, fail to see the big picture and are afraid to rebel against the status quo.

Uncle Rico, I find your comments offensive, racist and bigoted. Take that sort of attitude elsewhere. I disagree with the fee hikes in the first place, but if California would stop all the spending, then there would be a lot more money to go around for public schools. Take your pick: social welfare programs that perpetuate a common cycle, or the funding of higher education.

How misguided. Students should be protesting the fact that Californians refuse any tax increases -- alcohol taxes, commercial real estate taxes, and corporate income taxes to name a few -- that could close the yawning budget deficit and safe the world's greatest university system from this historic decline. Don't blame the Regents. Blame the people of California, who always seem to want something for nothing.

How misguided. Students should be protesting the fact that Californians refuse any tax increases -- alcohol taxes, commercial real estate taxes, and corporate income taxes to name a few -- that could close the yawning budget deficit and safe the world's greatest university system from this historic decline. Don't blame the Regents. Blame the people of California, who always seem to want something for nothing.

Maybe the politicians in California need to reorder their priorities. $10K for in-state tuition sounds like a lot of money. Is it really more important to educate illegal aliens?

Maybe the politicians in California need to reorder their priorities. $10K for in-state tuition sounds like a lot of money. Is it really more important to educate illegal aliens?

I think the Governor should be looking into why the UC system is $500,000+ in the red. Students pay close to $100 to return applications, how many of those board members took a reduction in pay, how many professors in the UC system took a pay reduction. The student can see a rip off and that's what happening right now...a rip off.

 
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