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'Zombie' students protest at U.C. regents meeting in San Francisco

July 18, 2012 | 10:29 am

Zombie student protesters
Zombies visited the University of California regents meeting Wednesday in San Francisco.

Actually, about 30 student protesters -– some wearing zombie-like makeup -- staged a theatrical demonstration against rising levels of student debt and the specter of a tuition hike if the November ballot measure for a tax increase fails.

They carried signs proclaiming, in full pun mode, “Rise of the Living Debt.” And at one point, they turned on music of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and briefly did some zombie dance steps from that famous video atop chairs before UC police warned them of arrest if they did not clear the room.

No arrests were made and the demonstration ended peacefully as the protesters left.

The regents left the meeting room for a few minutes and were to resume their deliberations soon afterward. Later in the day, the regents were expected to actually freeze undergraduate tuition at current levels but also warn of a 20% increase if the tax measure fails.

But even a freeze for next year does not ease financial fears, the demonstrators said during the public comment period of the regents’ meeting at a UC San Francisco facility.

Among them was Honest Chung, a UC Berkeley history major, who had patches of fake blood painted on his face and said he wanted to portray one of the “walking dead.”

“To some extent, we are all infected by this disease called debt,” he said.

UC Berkeley English major Ali Oligny delivered an impassioned speech to the regents about how budget cuts have made it more difficult to enroll in classes at community colleges and UC.

Wearing dark makeup and a tattered shirt, she decried what she described as extravagant salaries for UC administrators.

“We will no longer be told there is not money. There is money,” she said. “We will not be put to rest.”


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-- Larry Gordon in San Francisco

Photo: Student protesters dressed as zombies. Credit: Larry Gordon / Los Angeles Times.