Over 30 Santa Monica College students were pepper sprayed by campus authorities in California yesterday!
According to Santa Monica Patch, the students were protesting while a meeting was being held by the college's Board of Trustees. Over 100 students attended the protest, where the trustees were discussing a plan to offer a second tier of classes that would not be subsidized by the state.
Paul Alvarez Jr., who is the editor of multimedia for the school's college newspaper Corsair, said that he witnessed police grabbing and shoving students before they began to pepper spray. Another student identified as Christine Deal said she was put in a chokehold by campus authorities before being pepper sprayed.
Prior to flooding the hall in which the Board of Trustees held their meeting, students held a rally across campus in which they chanted "No cuts, no fees, education should be free!"
The proposal being discussed by the board would "privatize" their education, according to the student protestors; forcing them to pay more for their courses.
Trustees were outraged as well, due to the action taken by campus police. Trustee David Finkel called the use of pepper spray a "black eye." The Chairwoman of the board, Margaret Quinones-Perez said, "I know some things happened tonight that I don’t like and a lot of you guys didn’t like" to a group of students.
Paramedics called to the scene treated five students who were injured due to exposure to the pepper spray. Two more students were transported to a local hospital.
For more detail of the incident, check out the accompanying video.