UC tuition hike: Chaotic UCSF protest; ex-chancellor, 89, 'knocked down'

Student protesters and university police tussle at San Francisco campus over proposed UC tuition hike.

Student protesters and university police tussled outside a UC San Francisco meeting hall Wednesday where the regents for the 10-campus system were about to debate a proposed tuition hike.

About 100 protesters tried to block entrances into the building as regents and other UC officials tried to enter. Some of the officials were jostled as they wedged their way through the yelling crowd. Pushing matches between police and protesters erupted at several entrances and at metal barricades.

A 21-year-old UC Berkeley student, Jeff Noven, was arrested on suspicion of felony vandalism and inciting a riot, said Elizabeth Fernandez, a spokeswoman for UC San Francisco. She said that a group of demonstrators forced their way through metal barricades and police security lines.

While attempting to force their way to where the regents were meeting, a large glass door was shattered, Fernandez said.

No one appeared to be seriously injured in the protest.

However, former UC Chancellor Karl Pister, who is 89, later said he was knocked down and cut his hand as he tried to enter the building. Wearing a small bandage on one hand, he later addressed the regents in support of the tuition increase and said he spoke for a group of other retired chancellors.

In all his years as a UC administrator and faculty member, he said, "today is the first time I was knocked down."

Meanwhile, inside the hall, the regents were preparing to debate UC President Janet Napolitano’s proposal to increase tuition by as much as 5% over each of the next five years. Tuition currently stands at about $12,200 a year, and an increase could be moderated or eliminated if state funding increases enough.

Tuition at UC campuses has been frozen for the last three years.

Gov. Jerry Brown and several other state legislative leaders have opposed the proposed tuition hike.

Assembly Speaker Emeritus John A. Perez in a previous statement urged the regents to withdraw the plan, saying it would complicate efforts “to make college more affordable for middle-class students.”

He also said that “threatening a fee hike unless the Legislature increases the UC’s funding is tantamount to hostage taking and that is completely unacceptable.”

Times Staff Writer Samantha Masunaga contributed to this story.

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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times


10:44 a.m.: This post was updated with news of one arrest.

11:07 a.m.: This post was updated with details of a 21-year-old UC Berkeley student's arrest.

1:01 p.m.: This post was updated with the identity of 21-year-old UC Berkeley student arrested.