20 November 2009 ~ 0 Comments

Students in California Fight Back Tuition Hikes

In response to the failed anti-immigrant tea parties last week, more than 60,000 people joined the call for immigration reform with Rep. Luis Gutierrez this past Wednesday. The momentum is clearly on the side for reforming America’s broken immigration system.

Rep. Gutierrez reiterated his support for immigrant youth and even though he has yet to co-sponsor the DREAM Act, he clarified that his immigration reform bill would strengthen the DREAM Act, making it quicker and easier for undocumented students to legalize their status.

In the long run, undocumented youth don’t just need legalization; all American students need access to affordable and quality public education. And that is why student activists across California occupied their schools this week to present a list of demands in response to the rising costs of public education, specifically the 32% tuition hike approved by the UC Regents.

AT UCLA, cops tasered and hit students with batons. The actions were repeated at Wheeler Hall in UC Berkeley. Reportedly, well over a hundred students have been arrested for protesting.

The majority of the students occupying halls at UC Berkeley, UCLA and UC Santa Cruz are not undocumented, but providing a safe environment and accesss for undocumented students and workers is also high on the agenda.

In this AP video, UC Regent Mark Yudof deceptively points out that fee increases are only for those who earn above a certain income level, but he forgets that undocumented immigrant students in California are ineligible for financial aid to offset the increasing costs. Undocumented UC San Diego student, Facundo, testified yesterday as to how he would need to drop out of school in the face of new tuition increases.

For many undocumented students in California, the cost of college is already a prohibitive barrier to an education, with only 5-10 % of such students graduating with higher education degrees. Increasing tuition and fees does nothing to solve the state’s budgetary problems caused by Prop 13, let alone provide affordable access to all qualifying students.

It is time to make higher education accessible to all students. Follow http://twitter.com/studentactivism/ucwalkout2 for latest information and updates on the situation unraveling in California as students fight back.

(Video Credit: asiu1990)

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