Students Protest Fee Increase At UCLA

Compiled by CityTownInfo.com Staff
November 20, 2009

Students at the University of California in Los Angeles angrily protested the Board of Regents' approval of a student fee increase raising undergraduate costs a whopping 32 percent next fall.

The move will raise the annual higher education costs at UC to $10,302, reports the Los Angeles Times, an increase of more than $2,500 and about triple what it cost a decade ago. But officials said that the fee hikes were necessary to maintain the academic quality of the university.

"I hate to say it, but if you have no choice, you have no choice," said UC President Mark G. Yudof, who was quoted by the LA Times.

UCLA's student publication, The Daily Bruin, reports that more than 500 demonstrators protested the fee hikes on Wednesday, and police were forced to use nightsticks and Taser guns to push the crowd back. After bottles and rocks were thrown at police officers, students were told to disperse or face arrest.

"We care about what's going on, and we hold [the UC Regents] accountable to the students," said Jan Victor Andasan, who helped organize the rally. "This [protest] has such a big effect because it doesn't happen every day."

But Peter King, a spokesman for the UC Office of the President, said that the state government should receive the blame for cutting funds. "We are raising fees because we have no other options," he told The Daily Bruin. "The only other option is to let universities slide into mediocrity by letting teachers leave and the university deteriorates. This is a great university, and we're trying to keep it great."

The New York Times reports on how cuts in state financing have affected UC: All staff and faculty have been put on furlough, with an average pay cut of 8 percent. Housekeeping has been cut back, resulting in overflowing wastebaskets. Required courses have been scaled back, forcing many students to be closed out of classes.

"Dismantling this institution, which is a huge economic driver for the state, is a stupendously stupid thing to do, but that's the path the Legislature has embarked on," said Richard A. Mathies, dean of the College of Chemistry at UC Berkeley, who was quoted in The Times. "When you pull resources from an institution like this, faculty leave, the best grad students don't come, and the discoveries go down."

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