Student protesters at the University of California Santa Cruz shut down much of the school Thursday by blocking off entrances to the campus, the Associated Press reports.
The protests were part of a nationwide “Occupy Education” action against budget cuts to higher education.
In an echo of an incident at an Occupy Oakland demonstration last year, a car nearly plowed through the student protesters Thursday, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports. A man driving a Ford Mustang reportedly revved his engine before driving through the crowd, hitting several people and a bike. No one was seriously injured.
Many classes at UC Santa Cruz were canceled or rescheduled.
In March 2010, UC Santa Cruz students held a similar demonstration against budget cuts to the UC system.
A letter at the time to faculty and students, written by the UC Davis Organizing Committee, said the protests were held because student fees were rising “dramatically,” hiring was frozen, teachers were laid off or furloughed and entire departments were under threat of closure. “Next year’s planned cuts will only accelerate these trends,” the letter warned.
Two years later, “major actions” against cuts to higher education were planned not only at UC Santa Cruz but also at universities across the United States, according to the Occupy Wall Street Web site.
“Schools are turning away hundreds of thousands of students and cutting back on crucial classes for millions more,” Aaron Jaffe, a graduate student at the New School in New York City, said on the Occupy site. “We need to reverse the tide of tuition increases and student loan rip-offs so students can afford to get a good education once again.”