UC Riverside’s bell tower has always been a gathering place, but on Wednesday it was especially unusual as student protesters' tents and tombstone displays were on the lawn just across from the building where the UC Board of Regents held its first of two days of meetings.
“In 2001 the tuition was almost $4,000 and now it’s over $14,000. In 10 years it’s increased so much,” said student Scarlett Parker.
The regents are handling routine business during the meeting, but the sting of earlier tuition hikes is angering students statewide.
“I feel like it’s going to hurt not only me but my sister as well. My parents are kind of struggling,” said student Bryan Phan.
In an unusual move during the lunch hour, UC Riverside Chancellor Tim White left the meeting to see the student protests for himself.
“Our kids are angry about this and rightfully so,” White said. “So many of our kids come from first generation families and they’re worried about their siblings at home getting in because of the cost.”
White’s visit was brief, and on the edges of a crowd that didn’t always appear to be happy.
“They’re passionate about this but they’re respectful,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of signs they’re stretching us a little bit, but that’s perfect from my point of view,” White said.
The Board of Regents meets again on Thursday; a virtual guarantee there will be more protests.