Day of Action sweeps across California

Along with the Nov. 9 Day of Action on the UC Berkeley campus, 10 other demonstrations took place Wednesday at college campuses throughout the state.

The statewide protests were intended to mark the beginning of a week of protests leading up to the meetings of the CSU Board of Trustees and UC Board of Regents Nov. 16.

The various protests at UCs, CSUs and a community college involved several marches, demonstrations outside banks and the arrest of 11 UCLA students, according to The Daily Bruin. The largest protests were held at UC Berkeley and UC Irvine,  each attracting more than 1,000 demonstrators.

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The day’s events were largely organized by ReFund California, a group hoping to increase higher education funding through new taxes and other means, according Charlie Eaton, a UC Berkeley graduate student and financial secretary of UAW Local 2865 — a union representing more than 12,000 graduate student workers in the UC system and one of the main organizers of the protest. Protests also took place Tuesday with demonstrations at California State University, Fresno, and California State University, Sacramento.

Despite the unified organization, campuses experienced varying levels of participation. UC Berkeley and UC Irvine had the largest attendance, with over 1,000 protesters, while organizers at UC San Diego said only about 50 attended. Participation also fluctuated on CSU campuses, with estimates of over 500 protesters at CSU Fresno and 200 at California State University, San Diego.

According to Eaton, ReFund California organizers expected that more than 10,000 people would participate throughout the state, but it could not be verified if they met this goal.

Much like the Occupy movement, with which ReFund California is associated, the individual protests differ in their methods but share a similar goal of increasing funding for higher education through increased corporate taxes.

Over 200 protesters at UCLA held an assembly with several speakers and then marched down Westwood Boulevard and demonstrated outside of a Bank of America, according to student organizer Erin Conley. A crowd half that size assembled on the UC Davis campus, but those protesters only heard speakers, according to Axel Borg, University Council-American Federation of Teachers vice president for legislation.

The 200 protesters that gathered at UC Riverside demonstrated outside of a state assembly member’s office after marching, said John Gust, unit chair of United Auto Workers Local 2865.

Despite the differences in size of the demonstrations, there are plans for all campuses involved in the Nov. 9 Day of Action to protest on Nov. 16 — campuses in the northern half of the state will demonstrate at the regents’ meeting at UC San Francisco, while the southern campuses plan to attend the CSU Trustees’ meeting in Long Beach.

Protests are planned to continue throughout the week leading up to these meetings, though much of what will happen in the coming week will be decided by the protesters themselves, leading to little advanced planning.