While state lawmakers met to finalize their portion of next years’ University of California budget, thousands of students, faculty and other community members converged on the Capitol on Monday to rally for revenue-generating alternatives.
On the other side of the picket lines, over 100 police officers uniformed in riot gear stood on guard, blocking access to the rotunda as roughly 200 protesters attempted to enter the area. Officials arrested a total of 72 individuals throughout the day, 68 of which were incurred when protestors refused to leave the building at its 6 p.m. closing time, and one for possession of a switchblade.
The demonstration drew support from advocacy organizations and politicians alike, including the UC Student Association and various Occupy groups alongside Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and Assembly Speaker John Perez.
State Assemblymember Das Williams attended the rally to support Gov. Jerry Brown’s November ballot initiative to increase state sales tax by half a cent and raise taxes on those with incomes exceeding $250,000. Williams, who met with UCSB students to discuss possible revenue sources, said Brown’s initiative is the most effective proposal as it provides high amounts of funding that cannot be found elsewhere.
“We want something that solves the problem,” Williams said. “As long as there’s a budget deficit, the state will continue to cut higher education.”
Brown’s 2012-2013 state budget proposes an additional $300 million in UC funding if the initiative is passed.
UCSB Student Lobby Issues Coordinator Bianca Espinoza, a fourth-year global studies major, said while future tuition hikes are likely, students still have the ability to confront state officials about passing tax measures that can help alleviate the financial burden.
“We know [cuts] are somewhat inevitable because of the economic system,” Espinoza said. “We just want to hold our government accountable and make sure they understand that we need time to collect money and come together with our families to support ourselves.”
Mac Kennedy contributed to this article.