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Students in opposition to a bake sale led by the Berkeley College Republicans demonstrate in Sproul Plaza Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011, at the University of California campus in Berkeley, Calif. The Berkeley College Republicans have scheduled a bake sale where the price of a cookie or a brownie depends on your gender and the color of your skin. The price of a baked good costs $2 for white people, $1.50 if you Students in opposition to a bake sale led by the Berkeley College Republicans demonstrate in Sproul Plaza Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011, at the University of California campus in Berkeley, Calif. The Berkeley College Republicans have scheduled a bake sale where the price of a cookie or a brownie depends on your gender and the color of your skin. The price of a baked good costs $2 for white people, $1.50 if you're Asian, $1 for Latinos, 75 cents for African-Americans and 25 cents for Native Americans. Women get a discount of 25 cents. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)  

Cal chancellor: ‘Berkeley shares many of the highest principles’ of Occupy Wall Street

With a planned student walkout scheduled for Wednesday at the University of California, Berkeley, Cal chancellor Robert Birgeneau sent a campus-wide email on Monday expressing solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

In his email, Birgenau said Cal Berkeley “shares many of the highest principles” with Occupy Wall Street, and pleaded with the student body to remain peaceful and respectful.

“In these challenging times, we simply cannot afford to spend our precious resources and, in particular, student tuition on costly and avoidable expenses associated with violence or vandalism,” Birgeneau wrote.

But the chancellor also wanted to let students know that the university is in sync with the cause. “UC Berkeley as an institution shares many of the highest principles associated with the OWS movement,” he added.

Birgenau didn’t specify which “highest principles” he was referring to, but presumably it’s not the vandalism, assaults, drug overdoses, and acts of public urination and defecation that have occurred at various Occupy protests in recent weeks.

“It is here at Berkeley, and at many other campuses across the country, where so many young people acquire the knowledge and skills that enable them to live fulfilling lives without unreasonable economic stress,” Birgeneau continued. “In fact, more than one-third of our undergraduate students come from families who earn less than $45K a year; it is through their Berkeley education that these students and, often, their entire families are able to move into the American mainstream.”

Regarding “unreasonable economic stress,” new student loans last year topped the $100 billion mark for the first time in the nation’s history, and total outstanding loans will exceed $1 trillion this year, also a first. Student loan debt in the United States is now greater than credit card card debt.

The average cost of a Berkeley education for an in-state student, including room and board and other factors, is $34,286 per year.

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