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The students spent two hours sitting on the lobby floor having a dialogue with UC Provost Lawrence Pitts and Nathan Brostrom, interim executive vice president of business operations. Another 70 to 80 students marched outside the building on Franklin Street.
The students descended on the UC headquarters around 3:30 p.m., asking to meet with President Mark Yudof to talk about the increase in fees UC Regents approved at their Nov. 19 meeting. Yudof was not in Oakland at the time. Pitts and Brostrom agreed to meet with the students instead.
The protesters peppered them with questions about the UC budget and asked what they could do to repeal the fee increases.
The increases were a result of a dramatic drop in state funding - an unprecedented 20 percent cut, Pitts said. He urged students to write letters to their legislators and to join in advocating for higher funding from the state to avoid the need for fee increases.
"We do not control the state revenue," Pitts told the students. "There needs to be pressure on the legislators to be willing to give more resources to education."
Other students said that financial aid measures like the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, intended for low-income students, didn't address the needs of middle-class students.
"I'm a disadvantaged poor, but I don't want to look across the campus and see another student because they're not as poor as I am to be excluded from a public higher education," said Alejandro Lara-Briseno, a UC Berkeley senior.
Students also complained about the way campus police handled demonstrations at UC Berkeley Friday when students occupied Wheeler Hall. Brostrom, who also serves as vice chancellor of administration at UC Berkeley, told students that all the activities surrounding the building occupation and protests would be investigated.
Marika Goodrich, a UC Berkeley student who acted as protest spokesperson, told the administrators that students wanted to see them supporting their efforts to speak out against higher fees.
"I hope you see how committed we are and how passionate," she said as she presented the two administrators with red arm bands like the students were wearing and asked them to stand with the students.
"You're right to hold all of us accountable," Brostrom said. "...We need to have a march on Sacramento where we have tens of thousands of students. I'll march with you."
Pitts and Brostrom tied the bands to their arms, and the students left the building peacefully. They rallied on the street outside for about 15 minutes, and then said they were going back to the Berkeley campus, where most of the protesters had come from.