College millennials are the victims of painful career choices, described as privileged, and are trapped in the vice of social media. This millennial angst -- for lack of a better term -- fueled the 96 hours of demonstrations by students at UC Santa Cruz. Gen Y students are protesting on other University of California campuses -- like UC Berkeley - against issues like 'police terror,' tuition hikes, and having to pay for education in general.
The UCSC protests started outrageously: Six students -- described as "part of the movement" by organizer Ramona Parrotta -- held up traffic on busy Highway 1 by chaining their bodies to barrels of cement. The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported that police had to use tools like "jackhammers" to wrench the students free from the bonds. All six students were arrested, and the UCSC Chancellery promptly suspended the students.
— Ben Mabie (@yesnomabie) March 3, 2015
Social media erupted in anger: Users of Twitter spewed annoyance, or outright hatred for the students who caused the traffic jam. More seriously, threats toward the activists have been seen on the Official Group of UCSC Students -- a closed group on Facebook. Kimberly Shannon, the moderator of the Facebook group, warned that such threats would not be tolerated, and offensive users would be ousted.
If you're a UCSC "activist" I literally hate you right now. You're a fucking waste of life and trust-funds
— ☪L☨✝ ☪✡₥₥∀ND∃℞ (@Quincinerate) March 4, 2015
— Denise Christensen (@campbellgirl99) March 4, 2015
Additionally a Change.org petition was created to encourage expulsion of the students arrested at the Highway 1 blockade. The petition has already received over three-thousand signatures of the five-thousand required.
But UCSC undergraduate Ben Mabie came to the defense of the action, stating in a press release: "It's precisely actions like these -- campus shut downs and highway blockades -- that won hundreds of millions of dollars from Sacramento in 2010, and beat back a 9 percent fee hike in 2012."
Protesters march to Hwy 17, where protesters are blocking traffic, in protest of tuition hikes and police violence pic.twitter.com/dLUVeRjPkE
— City on a Hill Press (@cityonahill) March 3, 2015
— t (@taylaaa) March 5, 2015
Protests continued across campus on Wednesday following the Highway 1 blockade. A group of protesters marched upon the UCSC police station to demand an end to police presence on campus.
An undergraduate student involved in the protest movement, who preferred to go by Del, told me the police "were menacingly playing with their batons. Goading students on. This is what you can expect with the militarization of police. I wonder what the administration's intent is with this."
UCSC students march to police station to protest nationwide police violence #scsnews
— KaraMelinda (@karambutan) March 5, 2015
The final part of the 96 hours of action was the campus shut down. Protesters arrived approximately at 4:30 a.m. to block the main roads leading into UCSC. However, the shut down was not a complete success -- some university service workers were able to enter the campus through lesser-known entrances. But the campus's main services, including classes and the library, were effectively halted.
— City on a Hill Press (@cityonahill) March 5, 2015
ALL CLASSES CANCELED BECAUSE OF PROTEST, TRIES TO NAP, GETS WAKEN UP BY GUY IN QUAD PLAYING BAGPIPES...THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU GO UCSC
— Brianne Yepiz (@BRIANNEDELIAAA) March 5, 2015
In a university-wide email it was announced at 7:05 p.m. that the entrances were "open with traffic flowing freely."