Sixteen protesters arrested as UC regents meet; fee increase on agenda
Sixteen people were arrested Wednesday morning during a protest rally outside a UC San Francisco building where the University of California regents were discussing a proposed 8% student fee increase and changes in employee pension plans.
UC officials and police said that most of the charges were for resisting arrest as the protesters sought to block an entrance to a garage attached to the meeting hall and that at least one arrest was for allegedly assaulting a police officer. The identities of those arrested were not immediately available.
At one point, police used pepper spray on some of the demonstrators but authorities said there were no serious injuries. About 150 labor union activists and students marched outside the building at UCSF's Mission Bay campus and there was a large security force from both UC and San Francisco police.
Claudia Magana, president of the statewide UC Student Assn., said she thought the use of pepper spray was an overreaction by police. “It’s very sad to see how the UC students are being treated outside,” she told the regents. “They are not here to hurt you.” Police, however, said those arrested broke through metal barricades and had thrown objects at police.
On Thursday, the regents are scheduled to vote on a proposal that would increase basic annual undergraduate fees by $822, to $11,124 for next year, not including campus-based fees and room and board. That would come after a 32% increase for the current school year. During its two-day meeting, the board is also discussing changes in pension plans that would require additional paycheck contributions from employees and raising the age of retirement for new employees.
-- Larry Gordon