Demonstrators Arrested, Police Injured In Clash Over Cal State Tuition Hike

LONG BEACH (CBS) — Two officers were wounded and four demonstrators arrested when a protest Wednesday against a proposed CSU tuition hike erupted in violence.

The confrontation between police and protesters escalated outside the CSU chancellor’s office after board members shut down their open meeting and forced out demonstrators who were shouting obscenities.

Amy Schor, an organizer for ReFund California was caught in the melee.

“The police were extremely aggressive,” said Schor. “The crowd here was non-violent.”

Outside the chancellor’s office, protesters pushed back as they were forced from the building, eventually injuring officers and shattering a glass door.

Police used pepper spray on the crowd, but say demonstrators sprayed them first.

A Long Beach police strike force arrived in riot gear to assist CSU police officers.

Cal State says many of the demonstrators were not students, but were member of various activist groups who were bussed in for the protest.

After the initial scene caused by protesters forced a recess, the board meeting was reconvened in another room. Members then voted 9 to 6 in favor of a nine percent tuition hike, as protesters and police continued to battle outside.

“Tuition now is $5,472 for an undergraduate academic year,” said Robert Turnage, CSU’s assistant vice chancellor of budget. “So now it will go to $5,970.”

Some question whether the vote held behind closed doors broke state laws.

CSU spokesperson Claudia Keith said “the board cleared the room, and by law are still able to adjourn in open session to adjacent room to conduct the board’s business.”

Laws governing public meetings allow for the removal of disruptive speakers. However, members of the media claim they were told only that there would be an indefinite recess, and were not informed once the meeting was reconvened.

“It’s a very small room in capacity,” said Keith. “It is an open session; media could have been in there.”

CBS2/KCAL9’s Serene Branson pressed Keith, saying the media was unaware the meeting was reconvened, and were left outside with police.

Keith told Branson, “It was a little bit of a chaotic situation.”

California’s lieutenant governor and Cal State board member, Gavin Newsom called the board’s choice to continue the meeting outside the presence of the public or media alarming.

“I fear we are unintentionally inflaming the widespread confusion and acrimony around the issue,” said Newsom.

CSU insists members of the public were inside the meeting, but Newsom disputes that claim and has called for a new vote.

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  • Mehiimentalities

    Why did Serene Branson have to point out that the building behind her where those board members met had a value of $37 million? That was odd.

    I hardly ever point out biased news coverage but this one felt a little like on the side of wacko Occupy-ers.

    My other observation –
    Adding nearly $1k additional to education is a lot but that rise in ANNUAL cost means you may have to just use your laptop a little longer, stretch its use and skip the new one.

    Or maybe cut back on other expenses and good times. Thats what I DID when I had to pay about 4 to 5 times as much to get my education, annually.

    Is paying an additional $1k not representative of the value of an education?

    Agitators, scofflaws, nothing else. Go back to school, study, pay the extra, when you get a job and YOU SHOULD, you’re going to see it pay itself. Its only a thousand.

  • cleaning up the mess

    No..paying more doesn’t indicate a “better education” just because the school charges more for providing fewer class options. Instead that extra money means folks like myself, working adults, no longer have the option of going back to school to further pursue a higher level of education.
    I had seriously been evaluating the options available regarding finishing a bachelors degree. Unfortunately the trustees have removed CSU from what few choices I did have.

  • Old School

    Try getting on the four-year plan like college was intended…that should save at least 25%…all hail the free market system’s return to prominence over affirmative action and other communist-like programs…

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