Thousands of UC, CSU and community college students, faculty and staff rallied alongside lawmakers yesterday outside the state Capitol to protest against continued tuition hikes and cuts to higher education funding.
Demonstrators marched from Sacramento’s Southside Park to the Capitol steps and chanted “Hear us out or we’ll vote you out!” at the state’s policymakers. Over 100 California Highway Patrol officers dressed in full riot gear stood outside the building and surrounded the west steps around 4 p.m. as more protesters arrived.
Officers arrested four people during the afternoon and blocked entrances to the rotunda after roughly 200 protesters entered the area. CHP officers announced they would arrest anyone remaining in the building after its 6 p.m. closing time and arrested 68 more protesters after the crowd refused to vacate the building.
State Assemblymember Das Williams, who attended the protest and met with UCSB student representatives, said Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed tax initiative aims to raise money for schools by increasing the sales tax by a half cent as well as to raise the income tax for individuals making more than $250,000 annually.
“As long as there’s a budget deficit, the state will continue to cut higher education,” Williams said. “The governor’s initiative is the only one that solves the general budget problem.”
The UC Student Association and other student groups recently proposed a tax initiative targeting millionaires. The proposal is endorsed by the California Federation of Teachers and state Parent Teacher Association.