Students in Santa Monica protesting against a tripling of tuition fees are attacked and pepper sprayed by police as they attempt to force entry into a public meeting of the board of trustees. Two students are hospitalised and a further thirty require treatment.
Two students were hospitalised, and at least 30 others injured during scuffles with campus police as over 100 people tried to forcibly gain entry to the meeting room.
Students are protesting against plans to create a two-tier tuition fee scheme that will mean that popular courses will charge triple the fees of less popular courses.
Police refused to let the students in to the meeting as they said it was at ‘capacity’, and refused to switch to a bigger room. The students were subsequently pepper sprayed without warning
One of the protestors said that:
“Things started to escalate and the police were trying to keep people out while we just wanted to get in. It was packed in tight around the door and the police claimed students were breaking into the room so out came their pepper spray and batons. After that the fire alarm was pulled to evacuate the building because the pepper spray was so strong.”
The College President, Chui Tsang has given a statement saying that:
“The college would pay for the medical expenses of the injured students, but that the campus police had shown restraint, and use of force was necessary to preserve public and personal safety.”