Lots to protest

It was bracing to see UC Davis students chanting, singing, banging bongos and getting arrested last week to protest the UC Board of Regents pronouncement that student fees were going to be raised a whopping 32 percent starting in the winter quarter.

Hurrah for the protesters who were, after all, simply asking for some help from their administrators. You’d ask for help, too, if told your current fee of $7,788 would jump to $10,302 next fall, especially if it came at a time when your families were being hit by a recession and your post-graduation job opportunities were looking meager.

Were the UC Davis protesters offered help? Not at first. But eventually, charges were dropped against arrested students, an action that we commend.

Mostly, the many UC protests point to a larger issue—one that’s facing the California State University system, too. Touted as home to “the nation’s greatest public university system,” California seems to quickly be falling behind on that distinction, with teachers furloughed and students asked to pay more money for fewer and more crowded classes.

We need to find a stable way to fund public higher education. For Californians, this should be non-negotiable. In the meantime, short-term measures—like recruiting and enrolling more out-of-state students who pay higher tuition—should be taken.