We've spent a lot of time covering the ongoing budget crisis in the University of California system. Protests made national news as students occupied campus buildings. It was hard not to feel for the students, who were upset with the state university system's decision to increase fees by 32 percent in January.
But Berkeley students took things a bit too far this weekend, trashing University of California–Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau's campus residence. Eight—two students and six nonstudents—have been arrested for breaking windows and throwing burning torches at Birgeneau's house, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. As many as 75 protesters surrounded the mansion late Friday night as Birgeneau and his wife slept inside, the report says.
"These are criminals, not activists," Birgeneau said in a statement. "The attack at our home was extraordinarily frightening and violent. My wife and I genuinely feared for our lives."
Meanwhile, the Contra Costa Times reports that vandalism can only complicate student protests, with explosive and violent protests like the one in Berkeley starting a philosophical battle over the best way to protest the tuition hikes.
"If you can't convince a farmworker in Central California that his taxes should be going toward higher education, then you're not going to convince Sacramento" by vandalizing property, Will Smelko, president of the Berkeley student association, tells the Times. "It's stuff like this that reflects poorly on our campus."