Story has been updated.
Violent protests erupted outside of the California State University Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday in Long Beach, where the board members voted 9 to 6 in favor of increasing annual tuition by 9%.
The violence, depicted in the KTLA video below, occurred as police officers tried to close doors on protestors to keep them outside of the building. According to the Associated Press, "Demonstrators tried to keep the glass doors open and one finally shattered, cutting an officer's arm. It appeared that pepper spray was used because a choking vapor filled the air. Three people were quickly taken into custody."
The tuition increase is the ninth increase in nine years, and it leaves annual tuition at just under $6,000. Students, protestors and members of the group ReFund California, which largely planned the Long Beach protest, say this makes public higher education unaffordable to many Californians.
ReFund California has organized a Nov 9-16th Week of Action, which includes week-long protests at California State University, University of California and community college campuses throughout the state. The group's website reads, "We already paid! It's time to make Wall Street corporations and the wealthy pay to refund education!"
Cal State Long Beach senior James Suazo, who was at the protest earlier in the day, expressed a similar sentiment to KPCC. "They needed to create a campaign to tax the wealthiest 1 percent," Suazo said. "They need to close the corporate loopholes created by Prop 13."
In response to protestors, Assistant Chancellor Robert Turnage told the AP, "I understand why people are frustrated. A lot of this energy is misplaced." He continued, "It needs to be directed at people who have decision-making power over taxes. We have institutions to run. We have to make payroll every month."
Looking at the last two years of California tuition hikes, the Daily 49er reports on an Arizona State University study that shows California students are leaving the state to get their education elsewhere. According to the report, ASU received a 42 percent increase of California freshmen from 2008 to 2010.
The Cal State tuition increase vote came on the same day that California's nonpartisan fiscal analyst projected the state will face a $13 billion budget shortfall over the next 18 months. This budget shortfall would mean another round of budget cuts from Gov. Jerry Brown.
UPDATE -- The Associated Press confirms that three people were arrested in Long Beach after the protest and one officer suffered a cut arm from a shattered door.
Photos by Associated Press