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UC Regents met with angry students, public

UCLA student Kelly Osajima addresses about 200 people at UCLA protesting a past UC Regents meeting.
UCLA student Kelly Osajima addresses about 200 people at UCLA protesting a past UC Regents meeting.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

The UC Regents began its second day of meetings in Riverside with an hour of very angry public comment.

Speakers were emotional and tense as many students, professors, staff and alum went over their time limit. Some yelled derogatory comments and expletives angry about rising tuition fees. After the meeting students conducted a "mic check" and disrupted the meeting; audio streaming went offline as board chair Sherry Lansing addressed students who remained to protest.

A group of protesters also marched outside chanting "Whose university? Our university" and holding signs such as "Cut Yudof Off Not Education." Some had their faces covered as campus police stood nearby at the ready.

Here is a sampling of public comment from this morning:

A Cypress College professor of political science said Gov. Pete Wilson paid $37 a semester when he went to school, or the equivalent of $200 today. He said his newly born daughter already has to save to go to a UC she probably won't be able to afford it.

A woman said she and her sister both attended UCs. Her sister got a job with health insurance but got a kidney infection and had to stay in the hospital for four days. Her health problems continued. She couldn't make her student loan payments and is now in trouble. "You may think the problem is the loan company," she said. "I think the problem is how much money she had to borrow to go to a public school."

UC Riverside graduate student: "We keep hearing you guys have state cuts, and therefore you raised our tuition...But because you keep raising our tuition the state feels empowered to make these cuts. Nobody buys the line anymore. You've got to remove these cuts. Stop these cuts. And make the state figure out how to get the money elsewhere. Like taxing the the rest of the world does."

One student asked the Regents to read the Master Plan. Another told them "We are not peasants."

A graduate student at UC Riverside said students have been told to take the fight to Sacramento. The Regents said Wednesday they will march alongside students to oppose education cuts on the steps of the state Capitol in May.

"I'm a bit skeptical," the student said. "When you go to work at your day job, you're probably interested in deregulation and lowering taxes. The kinds of things that would really hurt us at UC."

A San Bernardino Valley College student: "If you're all supposed to represent us you need to support these revenue solutions. We are tired and frustrated of people like you not doing shit for us anymore. We are the public. I live in San Bernardino. Have you been down there?...Our students can't come to college. They know more people who go to prison than come to college."

Lansing extended public comment multiple times. "Despite what a lot of you may feel, all of us do care," she told the public. "We don't make salaries."

Lansing has met with students at multiple campuses since December to talk as she promised to do at a UCLA Regents meeting in November.

"I'm asking you, and I don't know what you're going to do afterward, but let us conduct our meeting, and I ask you to stay, because we will be [discussing] alternate sources of revenue that are not tuition based," Lansing said.

Tami Abdollah can be reached via email and on Twitter (@LATams).