MILWAUKEE (WSAU) Fifteen people were arrested at U-W Milwaukee yesterday, after a student protest against rising tuition got violent. School officials said campus police were pelted with ice and snowballs, and officers used pepper spray to quell the crowd. But the rally’s organizers said the students were peaceful, and police exceeded their authority in the way they responded.
Students at several campuses took part in what was called the “National Day of Action for Public Education.” Over 125 students marched to the chancellor’s office, carrying signs and chanting in favor of limits on tuition. They wanted to deliver petitions to Chancellor Carlos Santiago, demanding that his salary be cut before tuition is raised.
U-W-M spokesman Tom Luljak said police didn’t want too many people in the building because it’s old and has just one central stair-case – so they allowed one protestor to deliver the petitions. And when she came out, she told everyone to rush the building. A number of them did, and Luljak said four officers were knocked down.
Police detained 16 people, but one was let go after it was learned he was an innocent passer-by. Luljak said the rest would face fines for obstructing officers and disorderly conduct. None were expected to be charged criminally.