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Students block entrance to UC Santa Cruz in budget cut protest

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – About 100 students blocked the entrance to the University of California, Santa Cruz on Thursday as part of statewide demonstrations against budget cuts to higher education.

At one point, a man drove a Ford Mustang through the crowd, striking several people, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported. No serious injuries were reported.

Students holding a large banana slug, the school's mascot, block the main entrance to UC Santa Cruz on Thursday morning.

Abby Edwards, 20, told the Sentinel the car knocked her to the ground. “Suddenly I’m on the hood and then on the ground,” she told the newspaper.

However, a passenger in the car told the Sentinel that the vehicle was going less than 1 mph when “the mob swarmed over our car, attempted to open the doors and windows, kicked our lights in and threw paint all over the car.” The driver and passenger were detained for questioning.

Read more in Santa Cruz Sentinel

UC Santa Cruz officials had anticipated Thursday’s protest and many classes were either canceled or postponed, minimizing the impact of the blockade.

College students at about 30 campuses across the state were holding rallies to support more financial support for the state’s colleges and universities.

In southern California,  students walked out of classes at San Diego City College. "Walk out, walk out, walk out for your education,” they chanted, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

The UC system and the state university system each endured $750 million budget cuts this academic year, the Union-Tribune reported.

UC tuition has risen from $10,302 at the start of the 2010-11 school year to $12,192, the Union-Tribune reported. At CSU, it has risen from 4,230 to $5,472 over the same time period. Community college tuition has risen from $26 a unit to $36 a unit. It will rise to $46 a unit next fall.

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