Students and activists protesting tuition hikes remain camped out at Wheeler Hall at the University of California at Berkeley Thursday after taking over the lobby last night, according the university‘s police department.
“They’re very peaceful and they’re just meeting in there basically. … We haven’t had any issues. The classes are going on as usual.”
Students began the occupation after a University of California Board of Regents committee voted 7-2 on Thursday in favor of a tuition hike that would increase tuitions by as much as 5 percent annually over the next five years despite opposition from figures including Gov. Jerry Brown and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Brown has argued that the university system needs to find ways to control its expenses rather than raise tuition. Newsom and UC student regent Sadia Saifuddin cast the two dissenting votes on Thursday. Saifuddin said students feel the priorities of the state are not representing their interests or that of Californians.
Today, the full Board of Regents voted 14-7 in favor of the tuition hike, drawing further protests from students attending the meeting. State Assembly Speaker John Perez said the vote was unnecessary and undermines the investment in higher education.
Under the proposal, a 5 percent hike would raise tuition for in-state students by $612 to $12,804 in the 2015-16 school year, according to UC President Janet Napolitano’s office. Tuition for out-of-state students would increase by more than $1,700 to about $36,820.
Napolitano has said the university’s budget shortfall was a result of public disinvestments, not university budget allocations. Unless the state increases funding for the universities, Napolitano said the tuition hike was the only foreseeable option.
Ronald Cruz, an attorney for the activist group By Any Means Necessary, has said the protestors plan to stay in the campus building until the regents agree to drop the tuition increase plan.
There have been no arrests throughout the day but one protestor, 21-year-old Jeff Noven, who allegedly broke a glass door while protesting at the regents’ meeting, was arrested Thursday, DeColoude said.