Cal Set for Day of Disruption

By Bob Redell and Jessica Greene
|  Wednesday, Nov 18, 2009  |  Updated 2:07 PM PDT
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Cal Set for Day of Disruption

NBC Bay Area

Picket signs at Cal on the ready for a three-day strike planned for UC campuses.

The rest of the week will be noisy and disruptive on UC campuses as thousands of students, staff and workers take to the picket lines to protest budget cuts and possible fee hikes.

Staff members at UC Berkeley started walking picket lines before the sun came up. The union that represents researchers and technicians on campus are showing their support for the students while at the same time, launching a two-day strike to show how upset they are with the university.

The workers, who have been without a new contract for almost two years, complain that the UC board has been unfair and has bullied them during negotiations.

Students and staff have planned a big protest and march for noon today at Sproul Plaza to protest the proposed the 32-percent hike in tuition.

UC President Mark Yudof says the 10-campus system needs a $913 million increase in state funding next year. He has argued that the fee hikes are necessary to help reduce a half billion dollar budget deficit made worse by recent cuts by the state.

Meanwhile, California State University Chancellor Charles B. Reed is recommending asking for an increase of $884 million for 2010-11. The board of regents will be meeting at UCLA over the next couple days.

The finance committee is expected to approve the 32-percent hike in fees today with the board of regents following suit and passing the proposal tomorrow. If it goes through, this would be the first time annual UC tuition surpasses the $10,000 mark.

A loud and emotional protest in September forced a meeting of the UC the regents meeting to shut down.

For more than 10 minutes, the upset protesters hollered "Whose university?" then answered, with cheers and fist-pumps, "Our university!" The crowd then began chanting "Lay off Yudof!" while UC President Mark Yudof sat at a table about 50-feet away. Police were forced to clear the room and make arrests after anger erupts over proposed fee increases.

A strike and walkout was called at all 10 of the California campuses at the beginning of the fall semester in protest of how the university's Board of Regents has responded to the state's budget mess. They chose the day of protest to coincide with the start of classes on many of the campuses.
 

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