9 UCI Students Held in Trailer Protest
Nine UC Irvine students were arrested Tuesday while protesting the start of soil drilling at their campus trailer park, which is slated for razing this summer, campus police said.
Ten to 20 students gathered in front of the park during the day, arguing for a delay in the soil testing -- an early step in preparing the site for a parking lot and, ultimately, science facilities.
The drilling is occurring during spring break, and the students said they wanted it postponed until summer, when the park’s 74 trailers are scheduled to be vacated or relocated.
The trailer park’s closure, scheduled since 1999, has been opposed by residents who value it as the campus’ most affordable housing.
About 100 students live at the Irvine Meadows West Trailer Park, which was created about 1973 when the campus was 8 years old and enrollment was about a third of its current 23,000-plus. The students own the trailers and pay $130 a month to UCI for space rental.
The nine students were arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor trespassing after refusing UCI officials’ order to disperse. They were booked at Orange County Jail.
The protesters renewed their opposition to the park closure and said the drilling would disrupt their final months at the park.
“It’s been an amazing amount of stress, and it’s been very hard for me to focus on my work,” said park resident and fourth-year graduate student Garrett Asay. He handed in his economics dissertation proposal a week ago.
The work should be postponed until the park is vacated in July, he said.