Reporting John Brooks
LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Officials at Santa Monica College on Wednesday denied spreading fertilizer and leaving on the sprinklers to prevent protesters from gathering on campus.
KNX 1070′s John Brooks reports the move comes nearly a month after students were pepper-sprayed at an earlier rally against a proposed tuition fee increase.
Students claim fertilizer was deliberately applied to all areas on campus where they planned to camp out in tents over night to protest the school’s controversial plan to offer two-tiered fees for popular — and often overcrowded — courses.
The board of trustees has already postponed implementing the two-tiered system amid questions about the legality of the plan.
Nathan Gawronsky, editor of campus newspaper The Corsair, said there was only one spot on campus that did not have the smell of fresh manure.
“It was pretty much in every conceivable spot where they could set up a camp except for in front of the police station across the street on Pearl,” said Gawronsky.
At a trustees meeting on Tuesday night, board member Margaret Quiñones-Perez said the manure incident “disgusts me”, but the director of facilities said the timing of the fertilization was just a coincidence.
Gawronsky said students find that explanation hard to swallow.
“They don’t usually do that, and for it to come at a time when students are overtly planning on camping out, it looks like someone made a decision to try and prevent that,” he said.