I was never FREE, there were fees involved and the "healthy" surplus in the State treasury helped. Back when California was a "Golden State."
This is why the "hippie" and communist inspired Leftist movements took root in the "composts of the University of California system. If you aren't out $$$ for skipping classes, you don't care about the costs. When you aren't paying $$$ for the privilege to attend classes in buildings, well you just "occupy" and turn classrooms, labs, offices and libraries into squatters villages.