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University of California-Berkeley

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What are some hot-button issues on campus?

Earlier this year the Berkeley College Republican Club at Cal staged a very tongue-in-cheek sham bake sale in protest of the proposed consideration of race for financial aid and admission. The young Republicans were attempting to criticize what they felt were unfair breaks given to certain racial groups in our society by predicting the extents of "special treatment" each ethnic group might receive. Berkeley tends to be a hyper politically-correct campus, and the club took a lot of flak for their stunt, particularly because many of the more liberal students misunderstood their message, and were content to if it helped them slam the opposition harder. I would have to say that students at extremely liberal schools like Cal can go so far as to be "belligerently" liberal, banning together in automatic opposition to conservative stances without researching what they are. Personally, I tend to lie on the more liberal side of moderate, but I was deeply disappointed in how under-educated some of the students and faculty that chose to speak out against the Republican club were about the issue. Most of these types of events at Cal, such as the more recent "Occupy Cal" about which homemade videos of alleged police brutality were leaked, receive national media coverage for their controversy, and the media and administration inevitably side with the liberal majority of students at the school. Needless to say, it is very easy to get caught up in the "mob mentality" with the excitement and energy and gossip on campus during these demonstrations. Should you end up here, I strongly urge you to try to keep a level and objective head and gather as much information on issues as possible before attempting to participate.

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It's Berkeley - everything's a hot-button issue. There are a lot of smart, vocal and politically-charged people here trying to make change in the world. In the last year or so, we've seen everything from major Occupy protests to a controversial "increase diversity bake sale" put on by the Berkeley College Republicans. Tuition hikes and fee increases are eternal grievances, and there's a lot of labor and union protests as well. Racism, sexism... pick any "ism", and it's a good chance there's a handful of student groups organizing around it.

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