The University of California Board of Regents, meeting at UCLA, today approved an increase in student fees next year while raucous protesters gathered on campus for a second day.
Faced with a state funding gap of $1.2 billion next year, the regents voted to hike fees and adopt a financial plan that asks the state to fully fund the university's needs.
Regents also voted to approve entering into a partnership agreement with Los Angeles County to create a private, nonprofit corporation that will reopen and run Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital in the Willowbrook area. UC will provide physician services for a new, 120-bed hospital on the grounds of the old facility. (See UC Newsroom releases on the budget
"This is what we do: public service. Reopening Martin Luther King hospital will bring real services to people in need," said UC President Mark Yudof. UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said that while UCLA's exact involvement is unknown at this time, "given UCLA's size and proximity, I expect we'll play a prominent role."
UC and Los Angeles County each will be responsible for appointing directors to serve on the board of the new corporation that will operate the hospital, which is expected to open in phases, beginning in late 2012.
During and after the regents' meeting, protesters from UCLA and other schools demonstrated outside Covel Commons and across campus. Police estimated the number of protesters on campus approached 2,000 at its peak. About 30 to 50 students also locked themselves inside Campbell Hall overnight, forcing the cancellation of today's classes.
UC police said that one student was arrested for obstructing a police officer, cited and released. Two people were observed receiving treatment for exposure to pepper spray.
About 300 protesters also marched through campus and blocked the intersection of Westwood Boulevard and LeConte Avenue in Westwood Village. The students moved to the intersection of Wilshire and Westwood boulevards, briefly blocked traffic there, then returned to campus via Veteran and Gayley avenues.
After the Board of Regents meeting concluded, students continued to demonstrate their opposition to higher fees in the area around Covel Commons and the UCLA residence hill. About three hours after the meeting ended, all regents had left campus and police issued dispersal orders to several dozen remaining protesters.
Updated from an earlier version of this story.