Students call for 96 hours of action to combat tuition hikes, police brutality

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An ASUC-supported call for 96 hours of action to protest tuition hikes and police brutality began Monday and will culminate with a student strike on Upper Sproul on Thursday.

The 96 hours have so far included actions organized independently by students on the UC Davis, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz campuses. At UC Berkeley, the event is sponsored by the ASUC external affairs vice president’s office and will include a meeting in Wheeler Hall on Wednesday at 6 p.m. featuring local politicians and student speakers.

Students from UC Santa Cruz formed the idea of 96 hours of action, and the other participating schools joined the effort.

“We want to stop (the tuition hike) now before it becomes a problem later — we’re not going to stand for a deferral, and we’re not going to wait around,” said UC Berkeley sophomore Aanchal Chugh. “The only way to get the administrators to listen is to give them constant reminders that we’re not standing for this, and that’s why the event has to be a week long.”

The proposed tuition hike would increase student fees by 5 percent per year for the next five years and was previously set to start this summer, unless the state provides the university with more funding. UC President Janet Napolitano announced last month that the increase will be deferred for the upcoming summer session.

UC Berkeley spokesperson Janet Gilmore said the campus will monitor the events as needed and noted that the tuition increase would have little effect on many students.

“With a very few exceptions, California students from families making less than 150k a year will not be impacted by any increase in tuition,” Gilmore said in an email. “Low-income students will continue to have their tuition fully covered by grants and aid.”

The purpose of the town hall in Wheeler on Wednesday is to educate students about the hikes, according to Fund the UC campaign coordinator Shruti Patrachari. The meeting will host Councilmember Kriss Worthington, former state assemblymember Nancy Skinner and a representative from the office of Assemblymember Tony Thurmond.

Near UC Santa Cruz, students blocked Highway 1 for several hours Tuesday as part of the 96 hours of action, protesting against police brutality.

“We’ve been having an interesting experience explaining the connection between the two issues (of police brutality and tuition hikes),” said UC Santa Cruz senior Maga Miranda. “They’re different issues, but they’re very interrelated.”

According to Miranda, the relationship lies in what she described as the prioritization of prisons over education by California. She believes that low-income students and students of color would be most affected by the tuition hikes.

Chugh said the actions this week also aim to join different campus groups in solidarity with the student community on Sproul.

Contact Frances Fitzgerald at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @f_fitzgerald325.