Tuition Increases Spark Protest At UC Davis

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A small group of activists led a march around campus to alert students to a UC tuition increase that is being proposed by the UC Board of Regents.

Regents say a 5-percent annual increase in tuition over the next five years will allow them to cover pension costs and hire instructors and increase the number of classes, so more students can attend the university.

But students activists say the increase will have a negative impact on students who believe the state goal of a easy access to a college education should be upheld.

"When tuition goes up, students are working more jobs. When tuition goes up, they're taking out more loans, they are skipping meals," said Harley Litzelman, the director of the ASUCD office of advocacy and student representation.

Litzelman says California's economy is dependent on an educated workforce.

In the past, protests over tuition increases have resulted in violent confrontations with police. In 2010 after a $325 increase in tuition, students took to the streets and tried to stop traffic on Interstate 80 resulting in arrests and injuries to students inflicted by police.

In 2011, the Occupy movement on campus took up the cause of increased tuition. When protestors refused to disperse during one incident, campus police used pepper spray on students. The video of the incident went worldwide resulting in outrage, investigations and changes in university policies.

A 3-year freeze on tuition increases followed, but UC officials say uncertain revenues from the state budget calls for a stable revenue source. They need the money in part to increase enrollment by about 5,000 students.

Governor Jerry Brown is against the tuition increase. Board of Regents meets next week in Oakland.

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