UC students occupy buildings to protest fee hike
November 21, 2009
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) – Dozens of demonstrators who barricaded themselves inside a campus building at the University of California, Berkeley in a protest over fee hikes and budget cuts were removed late Friday, bringing the daylong occupation to an end, university officials said.
The occupation of a campus building at the University of California, Santa Cruz meanwhile continued.
Forty-one people inside UC Berkeley’s Wheeler Hall were arrested on suspicion of trespassing around 5 p.m. Friday, said Claire Holmes, a spokeswoman for the university. The group, which included university students, was cited and released around 7:30 p.m to cheers from supporters outside.
“Our whole goal was to make sure this was safe,” Holmes said.
The demonstrators had occupied the building 14 hours earlier to protest a 32 percent increase in student fees and job and program cuts. They hung a sign from a window that read “32 Percent Hike, 900 layoffs,” with the word “Class” crossed out in red.
A group of students also rallied outside the building.
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The demonstrators were demanding the university rehire laid-off custodial workers and give amnesty to anyone arrested in the protest.
Meanwhile, UC Santa Cruz Provost David Kliger said a group of students was blocking exits at Kerr Hall, the university’s main administrative building.
Kliger said he would not consider the students’ demands until they cleared the obstructions.
“Our preference is that they leave voluntarily,” university spokesman Jim Burns said late Friday.
About 30 to 50 protesters staged a takeover of Campbell Hall at UCLA on Thursday, as regents met across campus to approve the fee hike. More than 50 students were arrested during protests at UC Davis.
Regents say they had to raise fees because the cash-strapped state government can’t meet the university’s funding needs.