Students from UC campuses around the state to join in protests

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A mock funeral procession for public higher education at UC Davis will be only one of several protests happening at University of California campuses on the March 1 Day of Action.

Thursday’s events will involve protests at several UC campuses as students, faculty and staff plan to host teach-ins and speakers for the Day of Action — during which demonstrators intend to stand in solidarity against declining state funding and tuition increases.

At many campuses, rallies and movie screenings are planned. Some campuses, such as UC San Diego, will feature faculty speakers expressing discontent with the state of public higher education.

“Many professors have agreed to bring their lectures outdoors,” said Samer Naji, vice president of external affairs for the Associated Students of UC San Diego, in an email. “There is a large coalition of activists from across the campus, and ASUCSD has been playing a role with logistics.”

But the day could become controversial, as protesters at some UC campuses plan to pitch tents as a part of the day’s events. According to Facebook event pages, protesters at UCLA, UC San Diego and UC Santa Cruz plan to bring tents to their respective demonstrations.

Protesters at UCLA will camp out overnight at the Bruin statue, according to an event page.

Additionally, according to an Occupy UC Davis event page, the group intends to establish an encampment in the campus quad — the same location where some UC Davis protesters were pepper-sprayed by campus police in November.

Furthermore, protesters at UC Santa Cruz have planned events beginning at 4:30 a.m. Thursday, according to an event page. Protesters intend to block all traffic from entering campus, with the exception of emergency vehicles, campus residents and “other necessary exceptions,” according to a letter posted on the UC Santa Cruz Faculty Association’s website.

Along with the activities planned for Thursday, protests will continue on Monday, when thousands of students plan to converge on the state Capitol in Sacramento, according to the UC Student Association website.

Protesters at the Merced, Riverside and Santa Cruz campuses plan to take buses to Sacramento, according to Occupy event pages.

The student association, which is holding its 10th annual Student Lobby Conference in Sacramento from March 3 to March 5 — an event aimed at helping students better communicate with UC regents and state politicians — plans to join students in marching to the Capitol, according to the website.

Student Regent Alfredo Mireles Jr. and Student Regent-designate Jonathan Stein will participate in the association’s conference, according to an association press release, although the release does not specify whether the two will attend the March 5 protests.

Darius Kemp, organizing and communications director for the association, declined to comment on whether the association would back Occupy movement protests.

Naji said he was unsure how Occupy movement protesters would integrate with other student protesters on March 5.

“There are two main groups that will be holding events at the Capitol on the 5th: Higher education groups (UC, CSU, and CCs) on one hand; and the Occupy Movement on the other,” he said in the email. “There has been some collaboration between the two, but not much.”

Damian Ortellado is the lead higher education reporter.