19 November 09
Incident at Mrak Hall
The headline news in the paper today is “UC headed to huge fee increases”, the story beginning “The financially hobbled University of California moved Wednesday to boost student fees by $2,500 as students staged raucous demonstrations across the state against the higher costs.” A couple times during the day through my office window I heard the sounds of marching students. It was evident when I rode by Mrak Hall, the campus administration building, in the evening to pick up the newspaper from the paper lock box that the excitement was just beginning. Lots of protesters outside the building, news crews, a helicopter overhead, and large numbers of police. Riding south from there I saw two police paddy wagons from the Yolo County Sheriff’s office poised to go into action. I listened to the campus radio channels over the course of the evening. Many arrests were made, but the violence seemed limited to one case of battery and several police cars getting their tires slashed.
The student fee situation is pretty horrible. This evening everyone was very good at their respective roles. The police were being business-like, the students being loud and demonstrative. Somehow though I think this energy needs to be directed elsewhere: blame the populace of California that has on the whole supported the cause of tax reform (read starve the government) ever since the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978. We could start by repealing that damned proposition.