LOS ANGELES, CA – Hundreds of students, workers, teachers and concerned citizens descended on Covel Commons at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) campus today to protest a proposed 32 percent fee-increase that will be voted on by the UC Regents tomorrow, the second day of their meeting at UCLA. Police arrested at least 14 students and several protesters were injured during the protest.

Students from all 10 UC campuses flocked to UCLA to show that they do not support increased student fees. University union leaders who represent teachers, custodial and hospital workers, technical employees and graduate students were present along with workers themselves to voice their views

Chants of “They say cut backs, we say fight back” rocked the crowd as protesters raised signs in unison. Above the crowd messages such as “Last generation college student” and “Debt: My Grad Present” were seen on signs.

Cindy Amobi, a third year Journalism major from UC Irvine, traveled to UCLA to oppose the student fees.

“Even though they pretty much already decided on the vote, it’s important to still come and show our displeasure and solidarity with all students,” she said.

Students began amassing with the commencement of the regent’s meeting at 8:30 a.m. By 10 a.m., students were being escorted out of the public comments section of the meeting for disruptive behavior. Approximately 14 students were arrested for disorderly conduct.

Following a group of students’ attempt to enter the meeting by force, UC police began arriving on the scene armed with batons, pepper spray and other weapons that they aimed at the protesters.

At 12 p.m. police announced that the protest had become in violation of California law. They demanded that the protesters disassemble and informed the crowd that those who did not leave would be arrested, however no further arrests were made.

Despite the police’s actions, UC President Yudof said he could identify with the protesters.

“I feel complete empathy with them. Years ago I might have been out there with them,” Yudof said.

UC Students Association president Victor Sanchez, a fourth-year student at UC Santa Cruz who addressed the Regents on behalf of UC students, felt that the police officer’s actions were unacceptable.

“I think it’s ridiculous. I don’t think it’s warranted. It’s disrespectful to students,” Sanchez said.

Updated 9:29pm Nov 18, 2009