The scale of the protests has come as a shock to state authorities. What began as a marginal dispute in the summer between university faculty and their management over cuts in salaries has in recent weeks escalated into a statewide walkout by students and faculty as well as a day of strike action by campus technical workers against layoffs and diminished terms and conditions.
In a swipe clearly directed at the governor's office one provocative leaflet read: "Annually the state pays $49,000 per prison inmate and less than $14,000 per UC student. If the state can lock us up, it can invest in our education for one-third of the cost.
This should have been no "shock" to state authorities.
For responsible college kids who are just barely holding it together financially, the raising of fees will probably mean that they will have to drop out, and find other ways of pursuing their education.
Some countries in the world, like Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, and Finland, offer free education through college, treating education as a right, not a privilege; in its educational policy, the US does precisely the converse.