LA TIMES: Students protest tuition hikes at regents meeting

May 16, 2012
Larry Gordon

Student protesters angry about another possible tuition hike disrupted the meeting of the University of California regents Wednesday in Sacramento, with some demonstrators dressed in orange prisoner uniforms and singing about “working on the chain gang.”

The regents were about to discuss a recent report about the treatment of protesters on campuses and then analyze the impact of the governor’s May revision of the state budget on tuition.

Officials have said a 6% percent tuition hike may be in the works for July’s regent meeting if state funding does not increase.

After 15 or so protesters began chanting and marching around the meeting, they ignored orders to clear the hall. The regents then moved to another room to discuss other business in closed session.

The protest ended after about 15 minutes and the regents were expected to resume their public sessions after lunch, according to a UC spokesman.

Student activists have staged a string of protests in recent months, clashing with police. In March, three UCLA students were arrested after protesters disrupted a San Francisco regents meeting with a "spring break" demonstration in which some stripped down to bathing suits and tossed inflatable beach balls.

In a November incident that was recorded on video and widely viewed online, UC Davis protesters were squirted with pepper spray by campus police.

Undergraduate costs for California residents, including tuition, room, board and campus fees, has risen to $31,000 and university officials have warned of more increases if voters this fall reject Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed tax hike.