The full UC Board of Regents met in San Francisco today to vote on tuition hikes at the University of California. In a 14-7 vote, the board voted in favor of increasing tuition up to five percent every year for the next five years. The new tuition rate will take effect next fall. Students will be paying approximately $600 more per year to attend a UC campus.
Before the vote, the board listed to public comments for approximately 40 minutes. Students from UC Berkeley and UC Davis were among the group of students who attended. UC Davis student Amelia Itnyre cried as she told the board, “We’re not just angry, we’re sad. There are students crying in the halls. You should be crying. You should be praying. You should be trying to figure out what you are going to do to fix this. And what you have decided is not okay.”
The board meeting was ready for major protests like ones they save the previous day. They had many barricades and police on hand to control crowds. However, they were not needed like they were the previous day when the Finance Committee met and voted on the tuition hike. Instead, students across the UC system were organizing on their campuses. Students at UC Berkeley staged a sit-in inside Wheeler Hall and said they would not leave until their demands were met. Their main demand was to not raise tuition. Students chanted, “Show me what democracy looks like. This is what democracy looks like,” and “No hikes, no fees, education must be free.”
There was a small group of students who did attend the meeting. The students continually interrupted the meeting and vote with chants. The vote was difficult to hear because the students were so loud. One of the chants the board heard was, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, tuition hikes have got to go!”
Opposing votes came from the individuals the public expected to oppose the increase. The opposing votes were from Governor Jerry Brown, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, student regent Sadia Saifuddin, former Assembly Speaker John Perez and Long Beach City College President Eloy Ortiz Oakley. Governor Brown only recently appointed Perez and Ortiz Oakley to the board.
UC Regent Richard Blum told a KGO-TV reporter, “I think the students are being heard. Who is not hearing them is the governor and all this gets blamed on the university and gets blamed on the regents when the truth of the matter is Sacramento has underfunded the university for 30 years.”
Governor Brown has continued to stress that he believes the university has enough money and needs to live within their means. He expressed again that he would be willing to sit on a committee to look at the budget and help to trim unneeded costs. Assembly Speaker Atkins believes the University of California should work with the legislature and governor to get the money it needs to “remain one of the state’s world-class assets without harming the California students and families the university was create to serve.”
As the students who attended the meeting left, they chanted “Shame on you!” Students currently pay $12,192 per year to attend a University of California campus. If UC increases tuition five percent every year for the next five years like the plan calls for, California students will be paying $15,252 during the 2019-20 academic year. Students of the University of California are angry about the increase and are planning a day of action on Monday, Sep. 24 at all of the UC campuses.