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They also voted in favor of rebuilding their encampment despite earlier violence.

On Nov. 9, police jabbed students with batons and arrested 40 people as the university sought to uphold a campus ban on camping.

UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau launched an investigation into allegations that campus police used excessive force. He said videos of the protests were disturbing, and he plans to grant amnesty to all students who were arrested and cited for attempting to block police from removing the tents.

Birgeneau issued a statement to the students and Occupy demonstrators, saying the university leadership shares in their anger and frustration over relentless tuition hikes and the growing burden on their families.

“We all share the distress and anger at the State of California’s disinvestment in public higher education,” Birgeneau said.

He called on the “political leadership” from Sacramento to come to campus to engage with him and student representatives in a public forum to debate the future of public education. “The issues require bold action and time is short,” he said.

Over the past three years, the cash-strapped state has sharply reduced funding to California’s public colleges and universities, which has led to steep tuition hikes, course cutbacks, staff layoffs and reduced student enrollment.

Oscar Varela, 21, a fifth-year economics major who helped organize Tuesday’s demonstrations, was among the students who tried to block campus police from tearing down the campus encampment last week.

“We want to stay here to prove to the regents and state that we are part of this movement and that we want our tuition to go back to what it used to be, which essentially should be free,” Varela said.

Associated Press writers Garance Burke and Terry Collins contributed to this report.