Students Rally Against Fee Increase

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    Video by Scott Haupenthal

    [Photo of protesters at Tuesday's rally.]
    Students gathered in protest of the budget cuts to be discussed today at the UC regents meeting. The rally took place on campus on Tuesday. Photo by Molly Solomon.
    On Tuesday, members of the UC community continued to rally to attract the attention of the UC regents, who will vote on a fee increase and workers’ benefits today. This came a day after UC Santa Cruz administration sent out a campuswide e-mail about forming a Demonstration Advisory Group that will make recommendations about campus responses to demonstrations.

    The potential 8 percent fee increase would amount to an additional $822 per student, annually if passed. Changes in workers’ benefits include a proposed increase in the amount employees contribute to their retirement plans and a gradual reduction in retiree health premiums.

    “I’m worried about my pension, but I need to work,” said a dining hall employee as marchers attempted to hold a sit-in inside the University Center.

    The worker and his fellow employees tried to close the entrance shared by the University Center and the Colleges Nine and Ten Dining Hall when protesters attempted to enter. Some students positioned their bodies in front of the door to keep an entrance open.

    In a campuswide e-mail, Alison Galloway, campus provost and executive vice chancellor, said that the DAG will address the responsibilities of demonstrators and the consequences for participants who violate campus policy.

    “I would like to see faculty, students and staff represented on this committee,” Galloway said in the e-mail.

    Inside the temporarily closed building, a server and a dining hall patron attempted to speak out against the demonstrators’ actions. Their voices were drowned out by the shouts of protesters.

    After the group left the attempted sit-in at the University Center, it began heading toward the final destination, Quarry Plaza.

    “Hit the street!” students yelled out. Several people flowed onto the road, almost not noticing the TAPS bus that nearly struck them.

    After being halted for about two and a half minutes, another TAPS bus driver shared his view on the situation.

    “I’m in solidarity with what’s going on right now,” said the TAPS driver.

    Some of the marchers stormed into the bus. “Out of the bus and into the streets!” they said.

    Fourth-year Merrill student Elena Pasquez, a participant in the event, commented on the turnout.

    “It’s just disappointing to see the lack of student turnout here, because this is something that affects everyone, not just students — workers, faculty, TAs,” Pasquez said.

    In contrast to last year’s November demonstrations, which drew hundreds, Tuesday’s rally began slowly with a crowd of about 40 gathered in the Porter Quad.

    “If they’re not going to come to the protest, we’ll bring the protest to them,” said a woman in command of the bull horn.

    Demonstrators turned the rally into a march, as the group advanced up to Kresge, hoping to gain recruits.

    Nestor Rivera, fourth-year Kresge student and the organizing director for Student Union Assembly, attended the event. He said that the event is closely tied to aspects of his position and viewed it optimistically.

    “People are still here,” Rivera said. “It was a good turnout.”

    The march halted at the intersection in between Quarry Plaza and Cowell. Some students blocking the road began playing with a soccer ball and a hacky sack.

    A young woman got a hold of the loudspeaker before the group disbanded.

    “Let’s have a clap,” she said. “Let’s pat ourselves, and go to UCSF tomorrow.”