8 Students Sue University of California Over Fee Increases

The lawsuit alleges that the hikes came without fair warning. Educators say they had no choice but to raise the fees.

Kathleen Flynn, Times Staff Writer
Los Angeles Times
July 25, 2003 Friday

University of California students sued the UC system Thursday, alleging it had breached a contract by raising fees without fair warning. The students are protesting three recent increases: 10% in December 2002; about 25% in May for the summer session, and 25% to 30% this month for fall classes.

The suit also alleges that the university breached a contract by raising fees of professional school students after it had promised in a 2002-03 school brochure that the fees would not change during the students' tenure. University officials said they had had no choice.

"While regents made every effort to not raise tuition, the policy does say that fees are subject to change," said Hanan Eisenman, a spokesman for the UC president's office.

"The regent's policy may be amended by them at any time," he said.

The UC system faces a $360-million cut in funding as the California budget crises deepens, Eisenman said. "The budget crisis forced us to make difficult changes; we only raised fees reluctantly," Eisenman said. "We did try to warn students and we believe we did so successfully."

Mohammad Kashmiri, a third-year law student at UC Berkeley, filed the suit with seven other UC graduate and undergraduate students.

"It is ultimately not OK in a budget crises to raise the fees and balance the budget on the students," Kashmiri said. "And if you do, you need to give students and their family fair warning," he said.

Kashmiri said he would be in court today, attempting to obtain an injunction before Aug. 15, when the fees reflecting the fall increase are due.