Earlier in the day on Wednesday, student protesters rushed to block members of the University of California’s governing board from attending a meeting on Wednesday, where they ultimately approved a 5 percent tuition increase during each of the next five years.
Out-of-state students, who now pay about $35,000 in tuition and fees, could see those charges rise to nearly $45,000. That doesn’t include lodging and food.
Students are trying to stop the hikes the only way they know how: with civil disobedience. And Twitter: Using the hashtags #fightthehike and #OccupyWheeler, students tweeted photos of the inside of Wheeler Hall.
In fact, a series of 2009 protests over hikes on college campuses in the University of California system actually lead to the Occupy movement. At Berkeley, 41 students were arrested and more than 100 students protested at the Santa Cruz campus.
On Wednesday, University police pushed the students back behind barricades. The students shouted, “UC, UC, our tuition must be free.”
Other protesters formed a human chain to prevent regents from getting in. Things grew increasingly tense as demonstrators busted through metal barricades and police security lines, breaking a large glass entry door.
With state funding down and tuition rising, here’s a rundown of a few other campus protests over tuition hikes over the years:
– Rutgers University, 1992
In 1992, callers to Rutgers University (this writer’s alma mater, for full disclosure.) heard this: “This is the Rutgers Communications Center under student occupation. We’re staging a protest over tuition. Where can I direct your call?”
Members of a campus group known as Campaign for an Affordable Rutgers Education, or CARE took over the center to protest tuition increases. At one point, they chained themselves to a radiator. (I was on a team that covered this story for our college paper The Daily Targum. Sorry no twitter then or I would provide some tweets of the day.)
– SUNY/CUNY (New York), 1995
In 1995, during New York’s largest tuition hike to date — a $750-a-year tuition hike — police sprayed tear gas on 10,000 students protesting outside New York’s City Hall, then-mayor Rudolph Giuliani famously suggested they put their posters away and “find a job for the day.”
– The University of Illinois-Chicago and University of Minnesota, 2010
Part of a Day of Action and a nation-wide call for students to protest against tuition fee hikes, these campuses rallied for top administrators to take pay cuts — “chop from the top,” rather than increase fees and lay off junior professors.
– University of Utah, 2011
Undergraduate in-state tuition rates have more than doubled in Utah over the past 10 years. So Luq Mughal, 21, an electrical engineering student, decided to protest by paying his tuition completely in $1 bills — all 2,000 of them. According to Yahoo! News, in addition to attending classes, he has to work 16-hour shifts at Home Depot to help pay his tuition bills. And Mughal is lucky because he has a scholarship. His father works at the university. “By no means am I the saddest story on campus. There’s a lot of people here just as bad and probably worse,” Mughal told the Salt Lake Tribune. When tuition bills were due, Mughal and other students waited in line for almost three hours – Mughal with a metal case with thousands of $1 bills enclosed.
– University of Oregon, 2013
Students protest saying that increases are “threatening the American dream.” The tuition rates increased 9 percent for the 2011/2012 school year and 6.1 percent for 2012/2013.