This essay provides an account of the events that took place during the November 2009 protests against the University of California Regents' tuition hikes at UCLA. Although the tuition hikes affected every student in the UC system, they are particularly difficult for undocumented students, who face such barriers as inaccessibility to most types of financial aid and work-study programs and the inability to secure jobs. The essay describes how hundreds of students from all over California gathered at UCLA to demand equality in the educational system. The essay then elaborates on how race and privilege played out during the planning and execution of the actions. Finally, the author points to the impact that these tuition hikes had on undocumented students in the UC system. Whereas UC president Mark Yudof promised to expand financial aid programs for students of families with an income less than $70,000, undocumented college students could not benefit from these proposals due to restrictions in state laws. To the contrary, one out of five undocumented students dropped out of UCLA in the quarter following the implementation of the tuition hikes. Despite the direct impacts on their accessibility to education, undocumented students continued to organize and expose their plight on the UCLA campus long after the rest of the student body had accepted the hikes.

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