SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) — Dozens of University of California at Santa Cruz students who surrounded and shut down a building on campus Monday are planning to remain there overnight, according to a student protester.
The students shut down the Hahn Student Services Building at 5:30 a.m. and decided during a general assembly meeting Monday afternoon to remain there through the night and for “as long as possible,” said Bryan Mathewson, a freshman at UC Santa Cruz. They gained access through an open window, he said.
The students began demonstrating Monday morning in solidarity with students at UC Berkeley and UC Davis against the recent police pepper-spraying incident at UC Davis as well as rising tuition costs, Mathewson said.
“By shutting down business as usual there, we’re showing that we are disagreeing with the choices that are being made by the Board of Regents,” Mathewson said.
Jim Burns, a spokesman for UC Santa Cruz, confirmed that protesters were stationed at all five of the building’s entrances Monday morning.
He said the Hahn building, which contains offices that provide financial aid and student housing services and a disability resource center, was closed Monday but that it would likely reopen on Tuesday.
“Many of our students are understandably upset by the events at UC Davis, so we’ve tried to give extra consideration to their desire to speak out against what they saw happening there,” Burns said.
On Nov. 9, “Occupy Cal” protesters at UC Berkeley were met with an aggressive response from UC Berkeley police, and on Nov. 18, UC Davis police pepper-sprayed demonstrators who were sitting on the ground.
“I hope that students realize that they have a voice, and by being silent they’re almost consenting to what’s happening,” Mathewson said Monday morning.
He said the students are demanding the resignation of UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi, the removal or disarmament of the police departments at all UC campuses, and the rollback of tuition increases.
Mathewson said the demonstration was intended to coincide with a Board of Regents meeting held via teleconference Monday at four campuses—Davis, Los Angeles, Merced and UC San Francisco’s Mission Bay campus.
Dozens of UC students and employees spoke at the meeting Monday morning, which included a discussion about alternate funding sources beyond tuition increases.
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