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Calif. Protesters Beat Cop With His Baton While Rallying Against Tuition Hikes


"Take his gun!"

Protesters begin crowding around an officer during protests at UC San Francisco. (Photo: Maane Khatchatourian, Daily Nexus)

After violence erupted Wednesday when a University of California committee began considering a tuition increase, on Thursday that committee approved the plan to raise student fees by 8 percent next fall while expanding financial aid to more students.

Thursday morning's vote by the finance committee of the UC Board of Regents comes a day after a student protest outside the meeting at the University of San Francisco, which left four police officers injured and lead to more than a dozen protester arrests.

According to KGO-TV in San Francisco, one officer had to pull his gun when a group of 40 protesters jumped him in a parking garage. The group wrestled the officer's baton away from him and were beating him with it. When the officer drew his gun, the Daily Nexus reports, the small mob began chanting  “Take his gun!"

The officer was able to hold the mob at bay long enough to call for backup, which included about 10 officers rushing to his aid.*

The problem started when the crowds stormed barricades, trying to cross police lines. Police fought back, even peppering spraying the crowd at one point.

"It is my belief that officers conducted themselves very well and showed great restraint under the circumstances," UC Police Chief Pamela Roskowski told KGO.

Later Thursday, the full board is expected to approve the tuition hike, which follows a 32 percent increase this year.

In fall 2011, student fees for California residents will increase by $822 to more than $11,000. That doesn't include individual campus fees or room and board.

The increase will raise an estimated $180 million in annual revenue, with about one-third set aside for financial aid.

On Wednesday, students called for executives to take pay cuts while some teachers worried what might happen to their pensions as a result of statewide budget cuts.

KGO reports:

Students think top executives should take more pay cuts.

"We have an obligation to maintain excellence and access to our students and we can't afford it because of state budget cuts and the economy. It's really tough," said Vice President of UC Communications Lynn Tierney.

"My classes are so big, professors can barely handle 400 students in a classroom," said demonstrator Rosalinda Garcia.

And employees are worried about their pensions.

"People who would be making $10,000 a year in retirement will be making under $2,000 a year in retirement if these cuts go through. This is outrageous," said demonstrator Tanya Smith.

No violence was reported on Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

*This sentence was added post publication.

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