Nearly 250 students participated in a walk-out and march, from Quarry Plaza to Kerr Hall’s roof, on Dec. 8 against the tuition increase.
Students throughout the UC system have taken action against the approved five-year plan to increase tuition by up to 5 percent each year. The latest action in UC Santa Cruz’s series of tuition protests was the walk-out — the act of leaving a class as a way of demonstrating disapproval.
“I want my brother to have the chance to get an education and have it paid for and I hope he’s successful in life,” said first-year Jaire Loggins, “but with all of these increases in tuition, he might not even go to college because in eight years it could be double or triple of whatever it is now. I’m scared for him.”
After a rally at Quarry Plaza, students marched to areas largely populated by students — including Classroom Units 1 and 2, the Media Theater and McHenry Library — shouting, “Out of the class and into the streets!”
Literature professor Kimberly Lau, whose class was interrupted by the walk-out, said she found value in encouraging students to stand up for what they believe in.
“Part of what I hope students learn at the university is not only the book material we teach and how to write and think critically and everything, but how to be an engaged citizen,” Lau said. “It would be hypocritical of me to penalize people, while I’m also encouraging them through how they think about the course material.”
Dayton Andrews, a fourth-year student and one of the organizers of the walk-out, said this was an opportunity for students to speak out and get involved in fixing the UC system.
“This action has been precipitated by the current fee hikes, but those fee hikes are simply the straw that broke the camel’s back. If you take that last straw off of the camel’s back, he’s still going to be injured. We’re trying to heal our system,” Andrews said. “As we get more organized, as we do more actions, we get better. We develop a clearer message each time.”
Though Andrews acknowledged the often-ambitious nature of the protests and rallies, he said saving education is the ultimate goal.
“We want to revise the whole education system, we want to end police brutality, we want to end prejudice and we want to end racial profiling. It often feels like we’re trying to solve all of our problems at once, but education is important,” Andrews said. “Education is the tool that gives that means to fight all of our problems. We’re fighting for our education.”
While the walk-out dwindled in numbers as it settled on the roof of Kerr Hall, students agreed to meet for a general assembly on Dec. 11 at Quarry Plaza.