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Photo Courtesy of Sumner LeVeque

Fee Hikes And Protests To Ring In The New Decade By TRACI GARLING LEE Out on Ring Road, the competing cries of Korean barbecue sales fill the air. Students laugh as they pass one another to class, texting on their cell phones and blasting music from their iPods. Inside the Cross Cultural Center, the atmosphere is different: It’s quiet, but there’s a feeling of despair and desperation in the room amongst the small handful of students gathered. “We can be visible,” says Emmeline Domingo, her pleading voice breaking through the stillness of the room as all eyes face her. “Let’s be visible.” It’s November 16th, the fifth of seven scheduled teach-ins preceding the UC Regents’ November 18th and 19th meeting at UCLA in which they voted, 11-1, for a significant mid-year fee increase, raising UC tuition by over $1,000 by the end of the 2010 school year.

Emmeline, a third-year Literary Journalism and Sociology student, is part of a group of students working with student governments across the UC system to educate the public on the Regents’ decision to raise fees. The fee increase will put tuition over $10,000 at the start of the 2010-2011 school year, not including include textbooks, housing and other living expenses. Yudof believes that the fee increase “is designed to provide access, maintain quality and stabilize the fiscal health of the university.” However, the quality of the universities has been suffering. At UCI alone, many lecturers have not been hired back, employees and staff members are continuing to be laid off, professors and employees have been hit with furloughs and pay cuts, classes and discussions have been cut, many student services’ hours have been reduced dra-

matically and programs are still being cut. And it doesn’t stop there, teach-in leaders emphasize. The quality of the universities will continue to decline and these irreversible fees will pile see NEW on page 3

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Photos Courtesy of Sumner LeVeque

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up, making the public education of the UC system inaccessible to many. As the November voting date neared, attendance at the teach-ins rose dramatically. On the final November 18th teach-in at ICS 253, following the first day of protests at UCLA, the classroom was packed with students both sitting and standing. ASUCI Executive Vice President Sarah Bana encouraged students to handwrite letters to the Regents explaining how the fee increase affects their lives and secondyear Business Information Management major Shacole Hamlett asked everyone to consider the bigger picture about UC Regent President Mark Yudof’s plans. “Yudof says he’s going to raise one billion dollars in fundraising,” adds Shacole, “but that’s highly improbably it will happen.” In addition to fundraising, Yudof has proposed the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, which was also passed at the Regents’ November meeting. Under the

Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, families with an income of under $70,000 a year will have the total sum of their tuition money offered to them in a combination of grants, work study and loans. “This is just another way in which the middle class is becoming extinct,” comments third-year Studio Art major Natalie Paredes about Yudof’s plan. Natalie, who receives financial aid from the Veteran’s Administration, says that although she has yet to feel the effects of the increase personally, she cannot ignore the strain put on the rest of the community. “I really feel for the students because this is not the way for [the Regents] to treat the people who are paying them.” Now that the vote has happened and the 32% fee increase is in place, students have begun a string of protests and rallies to put pressure on the legislature and Regents and to build momentum towards a march on Sacramento. “We need everyone to make a stand,” says Shacole. Despite the fee increase and the arrests of the recent months, the hope for change is not lost amongst student activists. “Change never, ever happens in a snap. It took people of color decades to get civil rights in this country. It will take decades for people to understand that education should be a right for everyone,” says Emmeline confidently. “But in order to get the wheels turning, we have to start now.” For more information, please visit www. asuci.uci.edu/about/budget/

Contributors: Sandeep Abraham Daniel A. Anderson Megan Braun Jesse Cheng Emmeline Domingo Traci Garling Lee Sumner LeVeque Monica Thelin Michael Wong Editors: Sandeep Abraham, Editor-in-Chief Megan Braun, ASUCI President Kristin Oto, ASUCI Services Vice President Sandy Winslow, ASUCI Director

ASUCI G244 Student Center University of Califonria, Irvine Irvine, CA 92697-1375 (949) 824-5547 fax (949) 824 - 2010

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Fee Hikes And Protests To Ring In The New Decade