Nearly 150 protestors gathered outside the offices of UCSB’s top administrators yesterday to pressure Chancellor Henry T. Yang to oppose the UC Regents’ proposed 32 percent fee hike.
At noon, demonstrators marched from Cheadle Hall to the Student Resource Building to object to the fee hikes and budget cuts hitting the University. Many of the assembled protestors said Yang hasn’t been doing enough to ensure that the UC Regents will not raise tuition fees tomorrow.
Over the course of the event, students and workers delivered speeches to a cheering crowd holding signs reading such slogans as “Yang don’t give a dang!”
Within earshot of university officials, Megan White, a fourth-year feminist studies and history major, addressed the crowd by reading a list of demands for UCSB’s executives.
“We demand that Chancellor Henry T. Yang release a statement indicating that he rejects the proposed 32 percent fee increase,” White said. “And, more generally, the divestment of public education and privatization of the University.”
Chancellor Yang, however, was in transit to the UC Regents’ meeting at UCLA. Despite his absence, he issued a statement reiterating his support for the campus community.
According to Armando Carmona, a third-year sociology major, a coalition was recently created in order to unite the efforts of different campus organizations and affiliates to protest further cuts from the Regents.
“We realized that different groups were taking different actions in regards to the same issues,” Carmona said. “We sat down and had a dialogue about creating solidarity and that’s what we did.”
Paul Desruisseaux, associate vice chancellor for public affairs, said the protest unfairly pitted the administration against the students.
“It’s a mistake to view it as an ‘us against them’ situation,” Desruisseaux said. “While I support their right to come together, we are all feeling the effects of the budget cuts and it is time for the whole campus to come together and pull through.”
Michael Young, associate vice chancellor for student affairs, said, opinions aside, the demonstration was conducted responsibly and within the parameters of free speech.
“I think that students have the right and, at times, the responsibility to protest those things with which they disagree,” Young said. “They did so within the framework of our rules and I’m fine with that.”
In conjunction with the midday rally, a group of 12 students held a sit-in in the hall of Chancellor Yang’s fifth floor office starting at 8 a.m. While the silent protest was originally planned to take place in 5221 Cheadle, university officials were tipped off about the demonstration and locked the office doors, restricting the student activists to the corridor.