University of California students and workers staged a theatrical "zombie takeover" early Wednesday morning, hours before the regents planned to meet in San Francisco.
As early as 5:30 a.m., just two protesters covered in fake blood and makeup were at the UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center on Owens Street decrying the "atrophy of public funding for education," according to their zombie statement.
"We're back from the living debt," said protester Matt Wade, who whose cheeks were slathered in fake blood. "The university is still sidling us with more debts.
By 6 a.m., security was already on scene, bracing for more protesters later in the morning. And when the public comment period started about 8:30 a.m., students began playing Michael Jackson's "Thriller" to be disruptive. However, most left when police threatened to begin arresting them.
Specifically, students and workers said in their statement that they are rejecting the "privatization of the UC system and the potential 20.3 percent mid-year tuition hike being considered by the UC Regents pending the failure of Proposition 30 in November."
Prop. 30 would increase the sales tax by a quarter of a percentage point for four years and would increase the personal income rate on a sliding scale for those earning more than $250,000 per year. The income tax increase would be in place seven years.
For UC's part, spokesman Steve Monteil told NBC Bay Area that there is no proposal before the board of regents to raise tuition by 20.3 percent. Monteil said the board is only voting on a resolution putting in place a tuition freeze for the rest of the school years.
In terms of Prop. 30, Monteil said the state promised to give the UC system $125 million if the regents approve the tuition freeze. But the catch is that the voters must approve the governor's proposition measure in November. If that is approved by the voters, Monteil said, the UC system will get a trigger cut of $250 million from next year's budget. And ultimately, he said, if the proposition is not approved, the system will feel a $375 million hit.
To see an ad advocating Prop. 30, click here.