More than a dozen people were handcuffed and escorted out of a contentious University of California Board of Regents meeting this morning at UCSF Mission Bay where the board was discussing a plan to raise student fees by about 30 percent.
UC police took away 14 people in handcuffs after a large group of protesters interrupted the meeting, began chanting and held up signs protesting the proposed fee hikes, as well as recent furloughs and layoffs of university employees.
The interruption came during a public comment period that opened the daylong board meeting. During the public comment period, dozens of people had voiced their opposition to the plan, as well as their disapproval of UC President Mark Yudof.
San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos was among the public speakers, and denounced the board's plan, which he said would be “chopping from the bottom” of the UC system.
At the end of the public comment period, a large group of people stood up and began yelling “Whose university? Our university!” and “Lay off Yudof!”
Campus police escorted most members of the group out of the conference room where the meeting was being held, but detained 14 who refused to leave. The 14 people were cited for trespassing and unlawful assembly, and were released once they were outside the building.
Following the interruption, Yudof sympathized with the protestors.
“The students ought to be angry,” he said. “I'm angry about it too.”
However, Yudof blamed the state government, which has sharply cut funding to the UC and California State University systems.
“It is a dysfunctional state government…and that is piling on top of the dire economic circumstances.”
The board is not expected to vote on the proposed fee hikes until its meeting in November, but the plan is already facing opposition from one of its members, Lt. Gov. John Garamendi.
“This jaw-dropping proposal…will single-handedly take a University of California education off the table for thousands of hardworking students,” Garamendi said in a statement.
“I plead with every UC Regent and all those in the UC and CSU leadership to seek alternative funding solutions and do something positive rather than further endangering the state's future prosperity.”
– Bay City News