Santa Monica CC protesters pepper-sprayed

Thirty students protesting premium pricing for in-demand classes were pepper-sprayed when they tried to storm a Santa Monica City College board of trustees meeting.

A handful of protesters suffered minor injuries as campus police tried to prevent dozens of students chanting, “Let us in, let us in” and “No cuts, no fees, education should be free,” from disrupting the meeting during a public comment period, the Los Angeles Times reported.

College president Chui L. Tsang defended the police response in a statement.  “Santa Monica College regrets that a group of people chose to disrupt a public meeting in an unlawful manner,” he added. “The college has launched a full investigation into the matter.”

Hit hard by funding cuts, the college plans to offer two-tier pricing for high-demand classes. Students willing to pay $200 a unit — four times the regular price — could get into classes while others would remain on wait lists.

The chancellor of California’s community colleges has asked Santa Monica to hold off on two-tier pricing till its legality is determined.