.

Melee Disrupts Cal State University Board Meeting

Three protestors arrested, four CSU officers injured, broken glass, mangled door at CSU Chancellor's Office where state meeting convened.

5:25pm: Updated story with arrests and injuries.

The California State University Board of Trustees approved a 9 percent tuition hike for the 2012-13 school year today, despite a vocal student protest that disrupted the panel's meeting as police tried to usher people out of the hearing room. Four people ended up being arrested and three CSU officers were injured during the conflict.

After the confrontation between students and police erupted, the board members reconvened in a different room and approved the tuition hike on a 9-6 vote. The board also voted to request an additional $333 million in state funding. Tuition will increase by $498, meaning undergraduate student fees will go from $5,472 in 2011-12 to $5,970 for 2012-13. With campus-specific fees added in, the total cost for undergraduate students will be just more than $7,000 for the full year.

The increase will be on top of a 12 percent tuition hike that took effect this school year, and a 9 percent increase that was imposed in 2010. CSU officials said the proposed increase is necessitated by continued cuts in state funding, which they say has been slashed by $650 million in recent years, with another $100 million cut possible next month.

``The additional revenue requested in this budget is critical to addressing the deep and painful cuts the CSU has had to absorb, and to ensure that students have access to needed courses and support services,'' CSU Chancellor Charles Reed said.

``While there is still so much uncertainty in the state's fiscal condition, we wanted to provide students and parents with as much notice as possible that tuition will go up in the fall,'' he said. ``That said, we must all work with state leaders to restore the funding needed to maintain access and quality for CSU students.''

According to CSU officials, the availability of financial aid will mean about 45 percent of the university system's students would not be impacted by the tuition hike.

More than 150 angry protesters descended on the board's meeting, with most being forced to stand outside due to limited seating in the board's meeting room. But when the board took a break, police began escorting people out of the room, leading to a clash between protesters and officers that resulted in a shattered glass door and at least one officer using pepper spray to disperse the crowd. According to the university, three CSU police officers were injured in the confrontation, with at least one suffering cuts from the broken glass.

Four people were arrested. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a member of the CSU Board of Trustees, voted against the tuition hike and criticized his fellow board members for casting the vote in a different room, with no members of the public present.

``Whatever the rationale, this issue is simply too important to not allow for a full and thorough public discussion or to contribute to the perception that this process is anything less than open and transparent,'' Newsom said. ``By doing so, I fear we are unintentionally inflaming the widespread confusion and acrimony that continues to build around the issue.''

Newsom called on the board to put the issue back on the Dec. 5 agenda for reconsideration. University officials said the rules governing public meetings allow the panel to clear members of the public from the room if a person or group of people renders ``the orderly conduct of such meeting unfeasible.''

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson also voted against the tuition increase. ``It's time to recognize that our students and our state are in crisis, and we need talented college graduates to bring California's economy back,'' he said. ``This proposal takes us in the wrong direction at the worst possible time.''--City News Service.

 

Earlier story:

The California State University Board of Trustees approved a 9 percent tuition hike for the 2012-13 school year today, despite a vocal student protest that disrupted the panel's meeting as police tried to usher people out of the room. After the confrontation between students and police erupted, the board members reconvened in a different room and approved the tuition hike on a 9-6 vote.

Tuition will increase by $498, meaning undergraduate student fees will go from $5,472 in 2011-12 to $5,970 for 2012-13. With campus-specific fees added in, the total cost for undergraduate students would be just more than $7,000 for the full year. The increase will be on top of a 12 percent tuition hike that took effect this school year, and a 9 percent increase that was imposed in 2010.

CSU officials said the proposed increase is necessitated by continued cuts in state funding, which they say has been slashed by $650 million in recent years, with another $100 million cut possible next month. The board, however, was also expected to request an additional $138.3 million in state funding, and if it is approved, would eliminate the need for the boost in tuition.

More than 150 angry protesters descended on the board's meeting, with most being forced to stand outside due to limited seating in the board's meeting room. Students and other protesters inside the meeting eventually clashed with police, forcing the board to take a break.

The skirmish between police and protesters eventually led to officers using pepper spray, and a glass door was shattered. At least one officer suffered cuts from the broken glass. Police in riot gear eventually surrounded the plaza outside the building. It was not immediately clear if anyone was arrested, although at least three people were handcuffed at the scene.

According to CSU officials, the availability of financial aid will mean about 45 percent of the university system's students would not be impacted by the tuition hike. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a member of the CSU Board of Trustees, said he opposed the tuition hike. ``We have an obligation to our students and their families to send a strong message to Sacramento that our higher education system and economy cannot meet its potential unless this catastrophic trend is reversed,'' he said.--City News Service

Paige Austin November 17, 2011 at 04:09 AM
Powerful video footage. You can see the pepper spray going into protestors' eyes. It's hard to believe how much tuition has risen since i graduated in 2000 even as wages remain stagnant. It's a tough time be earning a degree and fighting for a place in the workforce.
Angel Garcia November 17, 2011 at 05:48 PM
Wow. Incredible. The Velvet Revolution. The Occupy movement. People are no longer standing by to let Government make their decisions for them. It is great to see people voice their opinions. I just hope that they can do it in a peaceful non violent way to help get the will of the peoples wants, nay, needs addressed.
John B. Greet November 17, 2011 at 06:21 PM
What a shame that the CSU protesters could not remain peaceful and that their violence and property damage resulted in police use of force to control them. Such violent and damaging behavior is not likely to win widespread support from the mainstream community for the protesters who were involved.
Debbie Maras November 17, 2011 at 06:49 PM
Many parents are trying to provide their college age children with a good education so they can contribute to society. This demographicis in grave financial states due to the poor economic situation. Paying for 2 tuitions since 2007 at CSULB I have experienced a constant raise in tuition and an increase in furlough days resulting in paying more and getting less for my children's education. The excessive campus luxuries the colleges provide along with the outrageous salaries of the Chancellors & upper level administrators should be addressed. Putting those funds towards a lower cost of education seems a more reasonable approach. If they are REALLY interested in educating our young people internal fiscal adjustments can be made.....or are the colleges just another greed driven business??
Shore Resident November 17, 2011 at 07:40 PM
I'm going to go against everything I hold dear and paste something I posted to another site. I'll spare you my sob story of how I worked full time and went to college full time (though it was the late 70's). That being said, I think the ire of the students and faculty is misdirected at the trustees. Consider if you will that the CSU system receieves the majority of it's funding via the legislative process. Perhaps the protests should be pointed at Sacramento and the budget makers. California is one of the hightest taxed states in the nation. However, our legislators have never met a social program they didn't want to fund. With that, funds are cut from other programs (higher education among them). Frankly, I don't see this a Wall Street Bank issue (as the OLB folks would like to make it) but a legislative one. Go after the budget makers, not the messengers. In addition, community colleges in Massachusetts run around $4500 per semester. Mass State Colleges are around $12,000 per year, and UMASS is around $15,000 per year. Debbie, your point about grave financial states is well taken. However, the state is in the same, if not worse position. Where is the money supposed to come from to fund the education system? While I disagree with the raising of adminstrators salaries at this time, it is a drop in the barrel of the overall problem.
Nancy Wride (Editor) November 17, 2011 at 09:17 PM
Shore, I largely agree with you, although I think more people should be livid about seeing the instant devaluation, by as much as half in some cases in retirement or savings via property value or 401K investments, stocks, investment funds since the economy tanked. I worked full time to get through college, and drive a 12-year-old Saturn to save for the future. (Any tips on what I should buy in January are welcome). I could have bought two cars easily with stock-invested Fidelity like fund losses. I hope more people register to vote, and then do so.
Shore Resident November 17, 2011 at 10:12 PM
I too lost large amounts in my portfolios, though less than most because I took an active role in their management. I get it. I was one of those who thought that there was no company too large to fail. However, the bailout was not Wall Street's fault. It may have been their doing, but it was the governments fault for going along with it. Again, I think our outrage should be directed at the government who fails to deal with the issues and continues to put band aids on a hemmorage. On a lighter note, I would suggest a certified pre-owned Volvo (it was tough for my ego to get over driving a Volvo). The come with huge discounts over new, and a warranty better than new. I've never owned a new car. I've had mine three years and it's never been in the shop except for lube, oil, and filters.
Nancy Wride (Editor) November 17, 2011 at 10:20 PM
I agree on the government. Anti-regulators will disagree but to me it was textbook FOR it, and expecting business to self regulate and police quite clearly doesn't work. I once heard this compared to expecting USC to call itself out of bounds against....anyone. :D Chris Cox waltzed off to a cushy law firm job in L.A. I am with you on the used car, and I have actually helped friends by their cars as an unexpectedly good negotiator. When I bought my Saturn they don't haggle prices, right? It was 8:30 p.m. Jan. 31, and they were throwing in free consoles, electric windows, et al :D How is the gas mileage on the Volvo? I have never cared about status cars, but I secretly want my sister's Toyota Highlander with all that height and view.
Nancy Wride (Editor) November 17, 2011 at 10:21 PM
A friend got one of the last Priuses with the carpool lane sticker.
Shore Resident November 18, 2011 at 05:40 PM
My 2007 2-40 gets around 30 - 33 mpg on the highway, probably 23 mpg in the city. I paid $22,000 for as a 1 1/2 year old car with 20,000 miles on it as a certified pre-owned. I didn't buy it for status. I bought it because it was safe, and it's a rocket on the highway. On my drive across the country I had to struggle to keep it under 80.
Nancy Wride (Editor) November 18, 2011 at 09:45 PM
Shore, I don't need speed but the 23 mpg doesn't seem that great. But safety is essential. A two truck would be nice on the latter. I was on a ride-along with a Caltrans paid roadside service during rush hour, and the driver was way out front of the truck on the shoulder. The truck got hit from behind at 60 mph and moved only 10 feet.:D

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