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Santa Cruz Indymedia | Education & Student Activism | Environment & Forest Defense

Tree Sit Statement Responding to UCSC Lawsuit Settlement
by LRDP-Resistance Media
Sunday Aug 10th, 2008 10:43 PM
It comes as no surprise to us that the city council and CLUE have settled their lawsuit with UCSC over the campus expansion under the 2005 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP). But, despite the city's capitulation and Chancellor Blumenthal's speculation that the Tree Sitters "have accomplished their goals," we will not be coming out of the trees. The city does not speak for us, nor do they speak for the Coast Redwoods, the Mountain Manzanita, Burrowing Owls, Red-legged Frogs, Bobcats, Coyotes, Gray Foxes, California Myotis or any of the other living creatures who call the exceptional habitat of North Campus their home.
The city's lawsuit was never intended to protect the unique ecosystem of North Campus that UCSC plans on destroying. The destruction of the forest was always the main issue behind us climbing into the Redwood trees at the site of the first proposed 2005 LRDP building. We look forward to working with the city and with CLUE on the legal battles that will be waged when the UC's plans are put before the Santa Cruz Local Agency Formation Commission. But we cannot rely on politicians and bureaucrats to protect the things that are truly important: clean air, clean water, animal habitats and the experience of being surrounded by the beautiful hundred-year old redwood and chaparral forest that are in danger of being destroyed forever. Those are the values that have called us into the trees, and those are things that cannot be quantified or litigated.

Though Judge Burdick ruled that the Environmental Impact Report was inadequate, the faulty studies submitted under the EIR will not be re-examined. The University has agreed to pay "normal city fees," so all the city has won is the ability to subject the University to the same laws as every other corporation operating in Santa Cruz. Having UCSC pay for their impact is not the same as having no impact on the city. The settlement is hardly a victory considering that the enrollment will still reach 19,500 by 2020 and could be even higher since there is no cap on graduate enrollment. This deal could only be seen as victorious by politicians and University bureaucrats.

It is difficult to see how paying "normal city fees" for traffic will have any actual effect on those of us sitting in miles long lines of cars all over town. It is difficult to imagine that housing 50% of the students will make a significant impact to those of us looking for housing in the $800-per-room rental market considering that UCSC says it already houses 45% of students. And, even if UCSC pays for their water usage, where will we find the water to support the increase in population that University growth will bring? The settlement is an inadequate answer to these concerns about the future of life in Santa Cruz.

A coalition of students, faculty, staff and community members have kept the Tree Sit going for the past eight months as a public show of opposition to UCSC's expansion plan. Our presence put pressure on UCSC to negotiate a deal more binding than anything the University has agreed to before, but we want more. The University has not changed its plans to destroy 120 acres of forest and add 4,500 students to this already overburdened city, so our opposition is still essential.

Let the city and University make their agreements. We are here for the forest.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by YouDontSpeakForMe
Monday Aug 11th, 2008 4:13 PM
So which do you speak for, the city residents for no growth or for the forest?

Why aren't you protesting the freeway improvements or new buildings going in on 41st? The one bedroom condos for 500+k are at least as troublesome as the planned UC expansion. How do you decide? What is your criteria for choosing to pick a place that will educate people in science?
by Joy
Tuesday Aug 12th, 2008 9:09 AM
Hm, that's a pretty interesting statement...
This building that will be used to educate people in science. Well, not really. Do some research. Find out what this building will consist of. Really, it's not going to have any classrooms in it, so it especially won't be used to educate undergraduates. It is mostly going to be used for research purposes.

Just to let you know.

I would say that the people who are especially devoted to the tree sit are doing it there instead of on 41st mostly due to the development happening on a fragile/delicate ecosystem...which is in danger of not existing for much longer.
by Dano
Tuesday Aug 12th, 2008 2:22 PM
Who cares whether the building is educating undergrads or doing research? I mean, one of the best things about UCSC is the opportunity get hands-on education doing research along side grad students and professors. This is a rare thing in academia.
by Just a Guy
Tuesday Aug 12th, 2008 4:28 PM
Joy research labs are very much ateaching facility. Not only do graduate students work on their thesis papers and projects but many undergraduates who will eventually go on to be graduate students or lab technicians in industry gain valuable knowledge and skills working in a research lab. Granted it is not a traditional butts in the seat classroom experience but it is education non the less.
by Mani
Tuesday Aug 12th, 2008 5:21 PM
Yes, the undergraduate students can go to the new science facility and be taught how to TORTURE ANIMALS, YAY!! I echo the sentiments above--do some research yourself.
by Just a Guy
Tuesday Aug 12th, 2008 7:08 PM
Mani do some research yourself. Very few researchers use animals at UCSC. Most of the worl os done wothout.
by (a)
Tuesday Aug 12th, 2008 7:47 PM
The ENTIRE bottom floor of this proposed building will be dedicated to housing animals for experimentation. Do some research.
by nooneimportant
Tuesday Aug 12th, 2008 8:23 PM
When I read that agreement I was thinking no one couldn't seriously call this a victory, and I' m glad you haven't. The fact the city settled for for nothing more then a pay off goes to show that all they are interested in is money, not the forest, not the people of Santa Cruz, not students, no one but themselves.
by scared to death
Wednesday Aug 13th, 2008 7:13 AM
The City sold out for a few bucks and a little promised improvement over the original LRDP. But UCSC promises are about as worthwhile as the trash bin where they throw comments people submit on their Environmental Impact Reports or even where they must have thrown their own 1988 LRDP where they promised to house 70% of the students on campus. Now they are making a big deal about possibly housing 50% of the students on campus, and they have escape clauses in the agreement that will enable them to not even do that. Where do they think all the new students are going to live? Where are the families of the low-paid clerical and maintenance workers that they will hire going to live? How are all those people going to get to campus without creating gridlock on the Westside? Sure, the settlement agreement is full of promises, but UCSC is an excellent at breaking them. You can count on it.
by Joy
Wednesday Aug 13th, 2008 8:53 AM
Scared to death---exactly. There are going to be a lot of problems, and generally it's just going to make students and people in the community less happy and satisfied with their educational/living experiences in Santa Cruz. And all this is done to "accommodate our state's needs"...right, like any of the people making decisions really care what the people need or want.

I foresee disaster. Very soon.
by -
Thursday Aug 14th, 2008 6:38 PM
One persons disaster is another's success.

And in regards to housing the student population? I think it's false logic to imply that the campus isn't building enough housing. The reality is that it probably wouldn't be voluntarily used.

UCSC already houses the highest percentage of any student population in the UC system. The fact of the matter is that most students don't want to live on campus by the time they're juniors and seniors. What would you propose? That they be forced to live up there? Not likely.

The Biomedical Sciences building is being pushed by a consortium of venture funds, private corporations, and university professors and administrators with an interest in a public-private partnership known as "QB3", quote:

"QB3 fosters industry and venture capital partnerships by identifying potential opportunities for research collaborations and support, and by assisting faculty with intellectual property and technology transfer issues. QB3's Industrial Advisory Board, which includes industry and venture capital leaders, provides private sector perspective on QB3's role in the California economy and identifies emerging opportunities for new QB3 activities." (contact: Ann Pace, pace [at] soe.ucsc.edu, 831-459-3501)

Essentially, what this program does is to allow private industry to use the university as their private research park, thanks to the Bayh-Dole patent laws that allow corporations to patent scientific discoveries generated with taxpayer funds. This has created a corporate culture in university research departments and in the administration, in which the open exchange of information has been replaced by a new focus on generating profitable patents. This fosters all kinds of corruption and conflict-of-interest, since UC administrators don't want to see science done that might undercut their latest patented blockbuster drug, for example.

It has nothing to do with teaching undergraduates, something the administration and a good chunk of the faculty care less and less about with each passing year. Furthermore, the effects are bleeding out into other areas of the UCSC, such as the STEPS program.

It's ideological control of science by short-sighted corporate and financial interests. It's not so dissimilar to the ideological control of science in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, though instead of Aryan-based "science" and Lysenkoism as the dominant ideologies, the new theme is that science's only role is to produce patentable intellectual property for large corporate interests. That's the mentality that's supported and enforced by university administrators and faculty members with vested financial interests in seeing the program continue.

Chopping down the forest? Demands on city services and the local water supply? That's not even a concern of these folks. If you think that University administrators spend any time at all worrying about such things, you're mistaken. They're just tracking their career trajectories - for example, MRC Greenwood has landed herself a nice corporate board position at Maxygen. Maxygen is a major funder of UCSC's STEPS institute - the universities environmental research center.

What you won't find at STEPS is any research into environmental pollution - anything at all related to Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" is not encouraged, and will even get you fired. That's what the UC did to Wally Jarman, who was perhaps the country's leading researcher into PCB and other organochlorine contaminants in marine mammals and other organisms at the time. He had to get a job in Utah, as I recall - and you sure won't find any research into PCB contamination in marine mammals at UCSC. Not with General Electric and Dow Chemical now being major partners of the QB3 and other university-linked public-private partnerships.

Seriously, it's the exact same kind of thing that went on in academics in the early days of Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany. I don't know who are worse - the architects of this scheme, or the obedient followers who are mostly concerned about keeping their positions. The resulting poisonous combination of fear, greed and corruption has created a uniquely unpleasant environment for all employees of the UC.

The solution? Cancel the neocon-inspired Bayh-Dole laws that allow universities to control their patents, and make all those university-owned patents available under non-exclusive licenses to all U.S. businesses - for a small flat fee.

Of course, businesses want to own their technology, so they will respond by rebuilding their private research departments, a la Bell Labs, Edison Labs, etc. That will allow universities to go back to their real job: educating students and doing basic fundamental scientific research.

(No need to scream, now...)
by -
Friday Aug 15th, 2008 4:27 PM
Greenwood has been with Maxygen since 1999; that's about a decade ago, and 3 years before the STEPS Institute existed.



by Borne
Saturday Aug 16th, 2008 6:36 PM
They lie too. The biomedical facility WILL be used to do experimentation on MONKEYS. Some researchers here do research on the brain and like to carve up mice. The will start working with monkeys when the facility is finished. It will be a FORTRESS like the one at UCLA. Right or wrong, now one will have a say then. Monkeys are very intelligent and they do suffer from these experiments intensely.
Well, that's where the story gets interesting, and it also shows that this situation has really been decades in the making.

Greenwood joined Maxygen in 1999, and the STEPS Institute was founded

Put it this way: Dr. Gordon Ringold and Dr. Tanya Zarucki were the founding Donors of the Institute. Dr. Ringold has past experience working for Glaxo and Hoffman-LaRoche , and is also co-founder of Maxygen, where MRC Greenwood went after her (overpaid) tenure at the univeristy.

This is what you call the modern academic-industrial complex, in which administrators find lucrative jobs in industry after spending years serving the agenda of those same private industries. Their main goal is the production of patentable products that will be exclusively licensed to various private interests, and if the research isn't patentable or is disruptive to the goals of the private sponsors, then that research doesn't get done.

For example, you will see no research at STEPS into the effects of dumping all these pharmaceutical products down the drain, where they end up in rivers and lakes and in your tap water - and bottled water isn't tested either.

You won't find research at STEPS into how low levels of these drugs, in combination, affect human cells and wildlife, even though that is a well-known pharmacological fact - and is even being used to develop low-dose "drug cocktails" for the treatment of disease (that's what QB3 is up to, but you won't see them applying that technology to environmental problems.)

After all, why did the University fire Dr. Wally Jarman, a leading world expert in organochlorine (PCB, DDT, etc) contamination in the environment and in marine mammals? Was it for doing interviews like this one, maybe?

"Narrator: This is Science Today. Researcher Wally Jarman of the University of California, Santa Cruz says that a generation after it was banned, DDT is still found in the tissues of many wild animals. The ban was hotly argued at the time the law was passed.

Jarman: In 1972 there were definitely problems associated with it, but it took foresight and it took some push to get it banned, and now we're still seeing, 25 years later, we're still seeing problems associated with it.

Narrator: Peregrine falcons were only barely saved from extinction, and some eagles are still affected. Jarman says that if lawmakers at the time hadn't looked to the future, the consequences would have been even worse.

Jarman: And one of my worries now is that people are becoming a little more lackadasical about environmental laws, and I think a good example of a good law was what happened with DDT. I think it's really important for people to keep that in mind, that sometimes you don't see the immediate effects. And that maybe the damage you've already done -- if they wouldn't have banned it, who knows what would have happened? We may have lost peregrine falcons completely."

No, the university administration did not like that. They put a lot of pressure on Dr. Jarman, and essentially forced him out (and I would know, I worked down the hall from his lab on the same floor, and so heard all the gossip about it.) Yes, that was about ten years ago - and now the UC has no capacity to do that kind of work, so no one is going around testing organochlorines in local marine mammals anymore.

And no, that has nothing at all to do with the fact that General Electric and Dow Chemical and British Petroleum and Hewlett-Pacard and Novartis and (a whole lot more) have entered into "public-private partnerships" with the University of California, to the wild cheers of UC administrators (who now see the possibility of corporate executive appointments in their futures). No relationship at all, really. Honest. "We are only interested in pure science in the public interest." Right.

This is how the mindless corporate agenda of the UC Regents and the UC administration have been perverting basic scientific integrity in favor of short-term personal gain, whether it be gaining royalties from patents or leveraging cushy jobs in private industry. It's produced a very nasty environment up at the UC, that's for sure.
by Zachary RunningWolf
( zacharyrunningwolf [at] yahoo.com ) Tuesday Aug 19th, 2008 9:57 AM
Dear fellow tree people,

I with all the people who are supporting the Berkeley Oak Grove (Ohlone Burial ground) stand or sit in solidarity with your brave commitment to the cause of respecting Mother Earth.

Respectfully Zachary RunningWolf
by dandelion
Friday Aug 22nd, 2008 6:06 PM
very well stated, thank you for the eloquence and for continuing our struggle to defend a precious and irreplaceable environment, and one that deserves the respect of this, and future generations. the waste alone from new projects would destroy an already over polluted and tenuous environmental situation for city dwellers and beach-goers. the university and the city have a huge idealogical debt to the forest already, let them repay that first.
by kale
Saturday Aug 23rd, 2008 11:40 AM
perhaps the university should look into creating another trailer park, or just a simple campground. low(er) impact, low cost housing that we can already see is quite popular on campus, especially with upperclassmen. what a rare thing, to have upper classmen and women living on campus and creating community.

one thing i haven't seen mentioned in these comments, is that if they find that there is not enough water for the proposed increase, then there will be no increase.