As The Year Continues, So Do Protests

The Nov. 24 protest that took place on Ring Road demonstrates UC students’ determined response to the UC Regents’ fee increase. Now, with the new quarter, new protests are also in he works.

“The protest is taking place to show how the fee hikes have affected us,” Hui-Ling Malone, a fourth-year international studies major with the Black Student Union, said. “The protest should raise awareness of the unfortunate decision that the UC Regents made when they raised our fees 32 percent.”

Malone expressed the importance of ongoing protests despite the passing vote of UC-wide fee increase. According to Malone, the rally is about getting student voices heard on how the fee hikes have affected them.

She also emphasized understanding that the blame is not meant to be on Administration, but that the administration must be held “accountable to ensure our University lives up to its great potential and mission.”

Osama Shabaik, also a fourth-year international studies major, discussed the success of the last protest as well as future events to hold administration accountable.

“It was evident from the last protest that the administration has realized the power in student-worker unity,” Shabaik said. “At the end of the quarter we saw the opening of Langson library for 24 hours throughout finals week.”

Malone held a different view of how the protests have affected students.

“Due to the fee hikes, some students will no longer be attending UCI with us in the new year, which I believe is not only disappointing, but unacceptable,” Malone said.

Shabaik reiterated how keeping pressure on administration was key.

“Because of the pressure put on by students here at UCI,” Shabaik said, “and across the UC’s the Chancellor has agreed to participate in an open forum on Jan. 13. The main focus of this event is to provide an opportunity for students, staff, and workers to voice their concerns straight to the Chancellor in a setting where he will have to answer them directly.”

John Bruning, a sociology graduate student who was arrested and released the same day at the last protest, gave insight into the administration’s response to the students.

Bruning mentioned that after the Nov. 24 rally, the Dean of Students’ office sent emails to the signers/officers of all the groups listed as cosponsoring and threatened them with potential policy violations over sound permits.

This claim was neither confirmed nor denied by UCI administration.

Even so, Malone expressed confidence in her student body as “a collective of students who are concerned about the privatization of education and who want to fight to preserve education as a priority.”