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UC Davis strike urged to protest pepper spray, tuition hike

November 28, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
University of California-Davis students Monday called for a general strike to protest the recent pepper-spraying of student demonstrators. And demonstrators marched to show their disgust over another possible round of tuition increases.

Dozens of UC Davis students and their supporters marched to the financial aid office to "take it over." They say they wanted to hit the university at its core.

"We're going to stop business as usual, use our power to do that until our demands are met," said march organizer Monica Smith.

The march was just one of a number of activities called for during a one-day general strike on the Davis campus to denounce the use of pepper spray on quietly seated protesters more than a week ago. They've also added the rising UC tuition rates to their cause.

Students were encouraged to skip class, which David Buscho happily did. He was one of the many doused with pepper spray during a campus demonstration on Nov. 18.

"It's a show that we will not stand for an administration that is not accountable for its actions and that we do not stand for tuition increases," said Buscho.

Many professors held teach-ins instead, using the Occupy movement as a teachable moment.

But for the most part, students went to class or worked on projects.

While many sympathize with the movement, this is a bad week to miss class.

"You don't want to fall behind, and it's right before finals, so you really can't afford to miss something that might be important," said Sarah Sahlaney, a UC Davis graduate student.

Under heavy security where visitors were carefully screened and searched, UC Davis was among the four campuses allowed to voice their concerns via teleconference to the UC regents.

"While our education becomes of less quality, we cannot sit passively and let that happen," said Ethan Evans, a UC Davis Ph.D. student.

But a tuition hike may be unavoidable considering state tax revenues are lagging again and a $100-million mid-year cut to UC will almost certainly kick in.

"None of us look forward to the cuts, but if the revenues continue to come in at the rate that they have, they're an unfortunate necessity," said Assm. Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles).

There is nothing to stop the $100 million cut from happening, not even through protests or general strikes. The automatic mid-year cuts are already written into law.


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