uc_color_logo.jpgStudents protesting potential fee increases at the University of California are sleeping out tonight to draw attention to their cause.

Students planned to camp out at the Mission Bay campus starting at 4:30 p.m. today with activities planned throughout the night before rallying at the UC Regents meeting Thursday morning, UC Student-Workers Union and event organizer Charlie Eaton, a doctoral sociology student at UC Berkeley, said.

This is the first time a Regents meeting protest has taken the form of a sleepout and Easton said “we don’t know what to expect,” but the demonstrators hope their message will come across loud and clear.

Despite a decision Tuesday at the urging of Gov. Jerry Brown to postpone a vote this morning by the Regents on finalizing plans to increase fees for graduate professional degrees systemwide, Eaton said students are continuing to urge the Regents to back off budget plans to increase tuition for undergraduates over the next few years.

The postponed proposed fee hike would affect 57 professional programs at UC campuses, which the board approved at the July 2012 meeting for the 2013-14 academic year.

Eaton said the sleepout will draw attention to other student issues and that the group is “confident it’s the right way” to show that students do not want to incur further fee increases or suffer cuts to programming.

The Regents November meeting began Tuesday and continues Thursday at 8:30 a.m. at the Mission Bay campus located at 1675 Owens St. in San Francisco.

Gov. Brown attended the meeting this morning, just more than a week after Proposition 30 passed in the election, which staved off a mid-year tuition increase and is expected to bring in $125 million for UC funding from the state.

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

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