Hundreds Protest UC Board Of Regents Meeting
By Rory O’Sullivan –
“Whose UC?” shouted a protester.
“Our UC,” roared a sea of protesters responding to the speaker. UC Riverside Chief of Police, Mike Lane estimated the number of protesters between 300 and 500 people, but the crowds were difficult to estimate because a number of students were observing and following but not actively participating.
As UC students converged on the campus of the University of California, Riverside in the hopes of gaining an audience with the UC Board of Regents who were holding their meeting on campus.
The protest was largely peaceful until late in the afternoon when protesters advanced toward the officers. Two protesters, Kenneth Ehrlich, 39, of Los Angeles, and Humberto Rivera, 25, of Corona were arrested and booked on suspicion of felony assault on a police officer.
A UCR police officer fired pellets toward protesters who were trying to break through the police lines. According to UC Riverside spokesperson Kris Lovekin, the method of force used was selected because it would be the least harmful.
“This is what a police state looks like,” protesters chanted as the mood outside of the meeting intensified.
Officials said there were about 200 police officers on campus to keep the peace and minimize property damage.
The crowds started to wain as word circulated that the regents were no longer on campus.
There was also a sit-in during the morning that temporarily halted the regent’s meeting. The meeting was closed to the public for the remainder of the day.
Lovekin said students have the right to assemble, but the regents have business they need to conduct on campus that included finding different solutions to the systems financial problems, in light of possible state budget cuts of $200 million.
FixUC a student organization started by UCR students presented a plan to have California students pay 5% of their income over a 20- year period and free the UC system from needing state funding. The plan is gaining momentum with UC officials and the media.
The regents will have to find a way to increase revenue amid shrinking state funding and growing student frustration over tuition increases. The UC’s budget shortfall could reach more than $1 billion according to their most recent estimates.
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