Occupy UC Davis

It seems every few years the powers to be at the top of the UC food chain decide they need more money. For what reason exactly, no one is quite sure.

However, it’s an interesting comparison you can draw here. If you imagine the UC Board as the US Government, the heads of the UC are similar to those we vote into offices in D.C. The only prime difference is that the UC is dealing with a much more critically analyzing population- UC students. They’re not as easy to manipulate as the general American public. Here’s why.

Occupy UC Davis is a movement that started on Tuesday, November 18th after it was announced that President Napolitano was going to try to pass tuition hikes of 5% for the next five years. Hmm. You mean after all the students are already paying an upwards cost of roughly $33,000 a year already for tuition?

The students at the UC’s obviously have not been receiving this news well- as they shouldn’t. This 5% increase would go into affect starting the next 2015-2016 school year and would affect all future students. Perhaps higher tuition would even deter future students from even applying, meaning the UC system could lose out on brilliant students all because those at the top felt they needed a larger paycheck.

occupy davis

“One day we will look back on a free public education and smile”

Signs like the one above have been put up all over campus in protest of this great injustice the Regents Board wants to pass. Many of the posters have slogans like, “Cut the tuition, cut the Regents”, although many stay with this idea of a free higher public education. The whole idea of a completely free public education may be shooting for the stars in terms of ever getting that accomplished, but I think the underlying idea is what is important. It’s the idea that students won’t stand for raising tuition costs when they raised tuition are going into the paychecks of the UC Regents Board and not benefiting the students. The atrocity of how much public education has increased since the 80’s is appalling enough, let alone the thought that the Board feels there’s a “need” to continue to raise the cost of tuition.

On Tuesday, the first rally started on the 3rd anniversary of the infamous pepper spray incident at UC Davis. UC Davis isn’t a stranger to activism on campus, but this time the students are determined to make their voices heard. Beginning with the rally on the quad the students had speakers stand up and shout for cries of support they the students of the UC system will not back down and that they will fight for themselves and for all future students wanting aspire to continuing their higher education.

After the rally the students began to march, heading around the quad and ending their march at Mrak Hall. For those of you not familiar with UC Davis, this is the admissions department head building. Students camped there overnight refusing to leave and chanting “No peace! No Justice!”

13 news crews came out to view the event. Not only were students in protest here at Davis but they were up in arms at Berkeley as well. Today, students from UCLA, UCB, UCD, and other UCs, traveled to San Francisco to directly interfere with the voting of the Regents Board.

I find it kind of exhilarating to be attending a UC during this critical time. It’s upsetting on the same token, only because three years ago when students were being pepper sprayed in peaceful protest of raising tuition costs, here we are again, still fighting the same “man” who is keeping us down by trying to make higher education so impossible to afford.

Higher education isn’t supposed to be something reserved to the elitist and when it was first founded that wasn’t the case at all. However, now the elites are the only ones who can even afford to attend such institutions. Unless you apply for financial aid, take out enough debt to swamp you in it for life, and do what I did- transfer in after completing two years at a junior college.

The La Times wrote a fantastic article about the raising tuition costs, making the comparison between the salary of the President of the UC Board ($570,000) compared to that of the President of the United States ($400,000).

If those numbers aren’t staggering enough, the Sacramento Bee wrote another great piece on the protests at UC Davis and cite that the cost of tuition twenty years ago for UC Davis was $4,000, and now it’s an upwards of $33,000 for the year.

And yet- the Board thinks tuition should be raised.

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