UCLA students and supporters confront campus police as they protest the UC Board of Regents vote to pass a 32 percent tuition hike next year on November 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Undergraduate fees for students at the California university system would be increased by about $2,500.. It is the second day that demonstrators, including students from other UC campuses, have gather to try to dissuade the board from approving the proposed increase. Massive cuts to balance the state budget have squeezed education funds in California.
Angry about budget cuts and crackdowns on Occupy camps, protesters plan demonstrations at four University of California campuses where board members will gather by teleconference after worries about violence led to the cancellation of a previous meeting.
The Board of Regents is expected to decide Monday whether to ask the state to increase funding to the 10-campus system to aid the hiring of instructors, increase enrollment and avoid raising tuition. The board will not be voting on a specific tuition proposal.
Charlie Eaton, a UC Berkeley graduate student and organizer of the ReFund California campaign, said protesters "want to open the teleconference to the 99 percent'' and "insist that our voices be heard as equals to the millionaires and bankers on the Board of Regents.''
The anti-Wall Street group also is calling on banks and the wealthy to pay more taxes to fund higher education.
"We've got to have a conversation about how do we make millionaires and the banks pay" for public higher education in California, Eaton said.
Meanwhile, students and faculty members planned a general strike Monday on the UC Davis campus, where Internet videos of police dousing sitting protesters with pepper spray sparked national outrage and calls for the chancellor's resignation.
The Board of Regents was originally scheduled to meet last week at the San Francisco-Mission Bay campus, but the session was canceled after law enforcement warned that protests could turn violent.
The board now plans to meet by teleconference from the Los Angeles, Davis, Merced and Mission Bay campuses. The regents, university administrators and the public can attend the meeting at those locations.
ReFund California, which had planned to protest at the previously scheduled meeting in San Francisco, intended to hold training sessions Sunday and Monday on non-violent protesting.
UC canceled the meeting last week after law enforcement officials received information that "rogue elements" seeking confrontation with police were planning to join the demonstration.
UC officials decided to hold the rescheduled meeting at four locations to make it easier for regents and the public to attend, UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein said.
The official meeting agenda was shortened, but the public comment period was expanded from 20 minutes to one hour.
UC leaders and the public also are expected to discuss how school police have handled Occupy protests at the Davis and Berkeley campuses, Klein said.
"People are appalled and rightly so," Klein said. "Something somewhere broke down, and we need to figure out why and to make sure it won't happen again."