SHERMAN OAKS—Six UC Santa Cruz students, one of whom is from Sherman Oaks, were sentenced to 30 days in jail on Monday, June 29, for a protest back in March that blocked Highway 1 for nearly five hours and brought traffic to a halt.
On March 3, the students arrived at Highway 1 to form a human shield via cement-filled trashcans, chains, and pipes. They were there to protest university tuition hikes and police brutality, among other issues. It took the police almost five hours to remove the students from the highway. Police initially charged them with conspiracy, public nuisance, refusing to comply, and resisting arrest. In court, the prosecution determined the charges to be misdemeanors for public nuisance and resisting arrest.
Pearce and Dimatteo read statements before their sentencing. They said that although they still believe in the cause and had good intentions, they are not happy with how they carried out the protest, and are sorry for the “unintended consequences” of their actions.
Local Santa Cruz residents circulated a petition to have the University Chancellor expel the students involved in the incident. Discipline from the University includes 10 months’ suspension, 100 hours of community service, and other possible sanctions. They are banned from campus until January 1, 2016.
Similar protests followed the March 3 incident. On March 5, students blocked roads in and out of campus, forcing many classes to cancel. Student activists consider these events to be part of a movement they called “96 Hours of Action,” in which their goal was to raise awareness about tuition hikes, racism, and police brutality, among other things.