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UCR Students Take Tuition Protest to the 'Mountaintop'

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By BVN Staff –

Frustrated by rising tuition costs, UC Riverside students changed the gigantic concrete "C" on a mountain slope overlooking the campus to a C-minus in an apparent symbolic protest, a school spokeswoman said Saturday.

On Friday, an email sent to the UCR media relations office claimed responsibility for using cement, water and paint to add a minus sign to the "C" that stands for California.

According to the message, "Students from various disciplines came together to design and create this symbolic criticism of California. Over 2 dozen inspired students carefully and inconspicuously scaled Box Springs Mountain with over 1,000 lbs. of cement, water, and paint."

"Continued budget cuts, rising tuition, and lack of commitment to higher education have led students of UCR to downgrade the state in this symbolic fashion.

Additionally, we wanted to make the minus sign out of concrete to send the message that what California is doing to its higher education system may have permanent negative effects.

“This collegiate prank illustrates an important issue; that there is a deep concern on behalf of students, faculty and staff that the state’s ongoing budget crisis has the potential to erode the quality of the world’s best public university system,” said James Grant, assistant vice chancellor for strategic communications.

A UC education costs $30,000 per year for a California student living in the residence halls, according UCR spokeswoman Kris Lovekin, who said that financial aid is available to families earning less than $80,000 a year under the ``Blue and Gold Opportunity.''

Over the years, the C has also been painted white, green, pink and striped like a zebra. "In the late 1970s, pranksters covered the concrete with dirt and the C literally disappeared into the mountain, but luckily they left a ransom note,'' Lovekin said.

Starting in 1955 and completed in 1958, the huge concrete letter serves as a UCR landmark, overlooking the campus, she said. At 132 feet long and 70 feet wide, the C is the largest concrete block letter in the UC system.

In 1958, a construction crew poured the C in cement, Lovekin said. Periodically, and at significant campus events such as homecoming, the C is lit up or painted blue and gold.

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