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California Students Pepper Sprayed While Protesting Pricey Courses

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posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 10:45 PM

The dozens of student protesters who were pepper-sprayed by police at a California community college weren't just angry about not getting into a meeting of school trustees. They were fuming about a new Santa Monica College plan that would let students who did not get into a needed, high-demand course take the class anyway, but only if they paid hundreds of dollars more.

On Tuesday night, the emotions boiled over at the meeting. And a day later, the state agency that oversees the state's community colleges called on the attorney general to judge whether the plan was legal. Agency officials also called for the college to temporarily halt the program. The college has said the summer pilot program is an attempt to create new ways to fund some popular state-required classes in an era of declining state education aid. Critics say the plan will create a caste system favoring wealthy students and runs contrary to the idea of community colleges as a gateway into the middle class.
The clash, parts of which were videotaped and posted online, occurred in a narrow hallway packed with shouting protesters. The videos show a chaotic scene with some struggles between them and police.
Two officers were apparently backed up against a wall, and began using force to keep the students out of the room. Steinman said both officers used pepper spray. "People were gasping and choking," he said.
Jasmine Delgado, vice president of the college's Associated Students, said she tried to restore calm shortly before officers used the pepper spray.
Delgado said she was pushed to the ground by an officer where she landed on her right arm. She said she suffered a contusion and her arm was in a sling Wednesday. "I think this shows how much students are willing to go through for their education," she said.
School officials said an overflow room was available to students but the demonstrators wanted to get inside the main meeting space.
In a statement, college President Chui Tsang said that despite people engaging in unlawful conduct, including setting off fire alarms, police made no arrests. He said the college was investigating the incident.
The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement Wednesday calling for a thorough investigation, saying students have a right to make their voices heard.
Video of a pepper spray incident at University of California, Davis, in November drew worldwide attention when an officer doused a row of student protesters with pepper spray as they sat passively. It became a rallying point for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

I hate what the education system has come to in this country. States and schools are ripping off students with their constant tuition hikes, and what happened here was even more over the top. I don't blame the student at all for protesting and being down right pissed.

I'm glad to see students standing up. Simply paying the fees and sending emails does no good. The price of education just keeps increasing. Even publishers are taking advantage by putting out new editions of their books every single year while increasing the price, although all they really add is a few pictures. Just ridiculous. Why should a calculus book cost $175 for a semester, when it's the exact same calculus which was taught fifty years ago to my parents or grandparents?

I also think as college students are being taken advantage of, the prices for classes continue to skyrocket, schools should be prepared for protests, and cops should be able to handle it better. Students complain, nothing happens. Don't pay, the would-be student loses out on education. Protest, and get pepper sprayed. Lovely. This really comes across as a money grab on the part of the college, and having to check whether or not it's even legal says a lot. So if students don't protest this, the school just sits back and enjoys the profit, which could have been gained through illegal practice? Hopefully other colleges learn from this.
edit on 4-4-2012 by MysticPearl because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 10:54 PM
It takes money to make money. These students should know that.

Arm in a sling from a contusion? Contusion is a fancy name for a bruise.

Letting one's voice be heard does not mean a raucous stampede. I would have used pepper spray too.

posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 10:58 PM
Thats what you get for criminal activity and smoking pot

posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 11:20 PM
OP, you got it right. Ignore the nonsensical replies. People like us know that you weren't saying that higher education should be free or anything (although that's another topic for debate), just that the costs are out of control (like a lot of other things, like health care) and people are just being taken for a ride/taken advantage of.

How long can we be stretched until people snap?

Biggest proof that I think exists that college has just become its own big business over everything else is the way in which everyone is pathed for college. College might not be appropriate for a lot of people, ESPECIALLY if it weren't a prereq. for so many things.

In today's world anyone with motivation can learn anything they want via the Internet, texts, etc. -- more than ever before in history. Yet everyone is pressured to attend university more than ever unless they want to clean toilets for a living.

For the record, I have a good degree from a good univ. Was too expensive even a decade ago.
edit on 4/4/2012 by AkumaStreak because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 11:23 PM
reply to post by MysticPearl

If they really wanted to hurt the college.... they'd all drop out and attend a different one. The school would quickly go bankrupt if enough students did this. As it is, they can raise tuition and thousands more line up out their door begging to get in.

posted on Apr, 5 2012 @ 12:46 AM
reply to post by MysticPearl

The solution to this is simple. End ALL Federal aid programs to these schools and you'll see them lowering their prices within the year.

They know where the actual money comes from in the form of grants and loans, so they keep upping the ante.

posted on Apr, 5 2012 @ 12:53 AM
reply to post by AkumaStreak

There once was a time where parents told their kids that a college degree equals good money. At one time, that was true.

We need plumbers, electricians, carpenters...etc, etc. All of which pay well in the long run...but not immediately.

I am a high school dropout, joined the military and I have attended college, one class at a time, bought and paid for with my own money.

Did I mention that I retired at 48? And now use my BA to cover that stain on the wall.

Maybe I'll use my GI Bill to earn my Masters and cover that other one?

Meh...I guess it's time to go buy some paint.

posted on Apr, 5 2012 @ 11:25 AM
Thank god, someone had to give those little brats what for. First they protest for their illegal immigrants to be able to get scholarships and have fees waived, now that the class is full they want to protest more. California colleges should start offering "protest" classes where they get credits for crying really loud like big babies.

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