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Standoff with Police as Activists occupy redwoods to oppose UCSC Expansion
by Long Range Resistance
Wednesday Nov 7th, 2007 4:12 PM
Early Wednesday morning, activists opposed to UCSC's Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) launched a tree-sit in redwoods near Science Hill. UCSC plans to develop the occupied site into a new Biomedical Sciences Facility.
Contact: Jennifer Charles
(831) 430-6791 [at]

Press Release

Standoff with Police as Activists occupy redwoods to oppose UCSC Expansion

UCSC Students launch tree-sit at site of controversial Biomedical Sciences building.

Nov. 7, 2007 Santa Cruz, CA Early Wednesday morning, activists opposed to UCSC's Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) launched a tree-sit in redwoods near Science Hill. UCSC plans to develop the occupied site into a new Biomedical Sciences Facility.

One person was arrested by UC police early in the morning. Police surrounded the site, where at least 4 activists were 50 feet up redwood trees. A scheduled rally and march that began at 11am drew hundreds of supporters to the site. A tense standoff with police commenced, as supporters attempted to get close enough to the trees to send up supplies. Police pepper sprayed the crowd and at least four people were arrested.

The Biomedical Sciences facility would be the first project under the University's plan to develop 120 acres of forest in order to accommodate 4,500 new students. The Biomedical Sciences building will have no allotted classroom space, despite student complaints about overcrowded class sizes. But it will have room for live animal experimentation, which includes such practices as food/air deprivation, infection, and non-anesthetized surgery, according to campus guidelines (

This building, which will house biotechnology and nanotechnology research, is exemplary of how the new LRDP marks a clear shift from UCSC's commitment to undergraduate, liberal arts education to the more lucrative programs funded by large corporations. Following the trend of privatizing public universities, students are paying more for education and receiving less. Students are calling for more funding for humanities and arts, including the creation of an Ethnic Studies department. Meanwhile, the UC is cutting faculty, increasing enrollment and ignoring the concerns of students.

Critics say the planned addition of 4,500 full-time students is irresponsible given the existing shortage of resources. They cite overcrowded classrooms, overworked teaching assistants and dissatisfied faculty as signs that the UCSC has already exceeded its capacity. In addition, the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) accompanying the LRDP does not bind the UC to mitigate the impacts of growth. The LRDP calls for the development of 120 acres of forest. Environmentalists say that the current development plans will significantly damage unique ecosystems, including Moore Creek, the Jordan Gulch wildlife corridor and the Campus Natural Reserve seep zone. Again, UCSC refuses any binding language requiring them mitigate the effects of development on impacted habitats.

Students, faculty, city council, community members, and environmentalists all expressed concerns about the impact of expansion during the planning process and were disregarded by the University. The group of individuals who are occupying the trees believe that action is needed to oppose UCSC's destructive plans before construction begins on any of the LRDP buildings.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by mz
Thursday Nov 8th, 2007 6:01 AM
As a recent graduated from UCSC I just want to express my support to you all, from the other side of the world. When I finished studying at UCSC in 2006 it seemed as though the lrdp was just this devestating inevitability and that there was no clear sense of how it could be resisted. But when i woke up this morning in Poland and read the news of the resistance on indymedia my heart leapt. I hope that you are all supporting each other in the aftermath of the trauma inflicted by police. It seems that the police are becoming more and more agressive. But this is to be expected I suppose, and it is a sign that the movement is finally manifesting a real threat to the powers that be, and you bet they (the regents and their armed henchmen) are going to use every means necessary to keep you all down. This is, by no means, to say that they will be successful. I believe in the spirit of your resistance and equally in the ability of this spirit to affect the material conditions of the Santa Cruz community for the better. When I was looking at the pictures of the treesit, having not been back there for over a year an a half now, I was immediately blown away by just how beautiful it is there. When you see it every day I guess you get used to it. But it is rare and it is worth fighting for.
in love and revolt,
by grad
Thursday Nov 8th, 2007 9:57 AM
y'all rock. It's about damn time someone is doing something about LRDP. No point in waiting for the Student Environmental Center to do anything... they're too busy trying to get their local organics in the dining hall... which is good, but HELLO the trees around us are getting cut down!

Direct action, tree sits, etc. combined with legal action and a robust public campaign (connecting different student, city resident concerns) will get the goods!

Remember, it's not just about the trees or the proposed biomed facility, but preserving an alternative UCSC, and making it better! Ethnic Studies, support for arts, languages, writing.

I imagine folks from the city are thankful for your actions as well. They hate the LRDP and there's no better way to build town-gown connections than to be opposed to the same project.

keep up the good work - and don't forget legal defense!
by Bones
Thursday Nov 8th, 2007 11:38 AM
The LRDP stinks. My family has been here for 122 years, and UCSC is no different than any other bad corporate pig neighbor. It's become an out of control cancerous growth. Save the trees and the town!
by acorns rich in phytochemicals
Friday Nov 9th, 2007 11:47 AM
Once again we witness the foolish behavior of the authorities entrusted with the education of the public. To destroy a living example of an ancient time tested biomedicine lab in the form of native oak groves is lacking the respect and understanding of mother nature as healer without the excess tampering of genetic engineering (GE/GMO) and pharmaceutical corporations seeking to profit off of natural medicinal compounds found in living plants and trees..

Yes, cooking and eating acorns can also be a form of nutritional therapy for a variety of medical disorders. There is a great deal to be learned about traditional ecological knowledge and the health benefits of such native crops as acorns. When combined with other indigenous food plants and animals, acorns can help maintain a healthy body, mind and spirit, thus warding off a great many illnesses through the classic method of preventions..

This is a potential for research without the controlling aspects of biotech GMO/GE, cruelty/ineffectiveness of animal research and the ever present profit motive of modern day big PHARMA corporations, waiting for illness to appear in humans in order to sell the so-called "magic pill" to "cure" the illness at a high cost. Whether we witness an actual cure or simply alleviate symptoms while cauising a plethora of additional symptoms, modern day medicine appears to be more interested in cosmetics and fad diet pills than actually getting to the source of human diseases. This focus on point of origin would of course take in consideration our societal habits of polluting petrochemical addictions, overconsumption of refined flour/sugars and other known causes of human diseases..

My suggestion is for UCSC (& Berkeley) to leave the native oak groves standing in peace and additionally provide students with educational material as to the benefits of oaks for the ecosystem AND the human health benefits of including properly prepared acorns in our diets, as indigenous peoples of the Americas have done for many centuries..

"Acorns figure a lot in the diet of Californian Native Americans in the form of acorn flour or as an ingredient in soups. And like many other diets originating from California, acorn appears to be a healthy idea, as it has been demonstrated to be rich in phytochemicals.

A total of 22 hydrolyzable tannins were identified in methanolic extracts of acorn cotyledon tissue. Gallic acid derivatives predominated and included galloylated esters of glucose, hexahydrodiphenoyl esters of glucose, and methylated gallates. Galloylated esters of glucose were present as isomers of galloyl glucose, digalloyl glucose, and trigalloyl glucose. Mass spectral fragmentation patterns indicate the presence of one gallic acid-galloyl glucose isomer and two gallic acid-digalloyl-glucose isomers. No isomers of tetragalloyl glucose and pentagalloyl glucose were identified. Ellagic acid and ellagic acid pentoside were also identified.

Compared to other nuts, acorns contain more tannins, which gives it the bitter taste and requires tedious processing. Here’s a review article discussing the role of tannins on human health, most documented are its anti-carcinogenic, anti-microbial, and anti-oxidative properties."

article found @;

by Ryan
Sunday Nov 11th, 2007 11:47 PM

I am certainly not opposed to the actions of the protesters (I cried when they tore down the grove behind porter to build the apartments, it was my favorite spot on campus)... but I wonder what you guys suggest the regents do to address the booming population in California, and the subsequent need for development of UC campuses? All the signs and slogans seem to stop short of a solution beyond "not here".

I'm not disagreeing, just trying to provoke thought in the hopes your message and movement becomes more powerful.
by cats
Tuesday Nov 13th, 2007 7:14 PM
a start:
in the narrow terms of the discussion of growth and the LRDP, there are some potential solutions. all of these have been discussed in committees and meetings with administrators; none of the have been implemented.
conditional growth process: this means making growth implementation conditional on meeting targets for academics, physical systems, environmental mitigations etc. this would enforce responsible growth, which would in turn guarantee that the students who do get to attend uc don't face an ever-diminishing quality of education.
growth priorities: before adding major research facilities, before increasing the pay of george blumenthal and other admins, before building new police facilities etc., there should be adequate support for workers, adequate academic support, more comprehensive outreach and retention funding and support, the list goes on.
by Ben
Wednesday Nov 14th, 2007 11:59 AM
I thought that adding new major research facilities was giving academic support?
The new facilities would keep UCSC on the cutting edge of research, offering their students the best education that they can get.
by in support of forest
Thursday Nov 22nd, 2007 8:06 PM
"Academic support"? "cutting edge"? sounds like grant-whoring and bogus science to me.
by Ben
Tuesday Nov 27th, 2007 5:18 PM
"sounds like grant-whoring and bogus science to me."
If you look into it deeper you will find things like the mapping of the human genome, AIDS research, cancer research. The research going on at UCSC is real, known all over the world as cutting edge, and saving human lives. Grants and gifts not only help the science pograms.....they help fund the arts programs as well.
by Ben
Tuesday Nov 27th, 2007 5:23 PM
"which would in turn guarantee that the students who do get to attend uc don't face an ever-diminishing quality of education"
Hmmmm..."the students who DO get to attend". Which would mean that there are people that would NOT get to attend because of space limitations. Hey, why worry about others getting the same advantages as you when you already have yours. And of course students with the cash, or more precisely the children of parents that have the cash, will win out in a limited space situation. Nothing like keeping an education from people that cannot afford it to keep thiings in check. Right?
by (repost)
Wednesday Nov 28th, 2007 10:30 AM

I was heartened to hear about this action at my alma mater, the University of California at Santa Cruz. It was a long time in coming. The Long Range Development Plan (LRDP), proposed by the Regents of the university, has long been the subject of considerable ire on the part of many in the campus community and that of Santa Cruz in general. The issue has become urgent enough, and the options for constructively engaging with the administration so completely exhausted, that the movement opposed to the LRDP was able to gain enough traction in the public to pull off what appears, at least from all the way out here in Cairo, to have been a very successful direct action, and, perhaps more importantly, one which does not simply stand on its own, but signals the beginning of a new and more radical phase of struggle.

The issue of the LRDP, and especially the proposed biosciences building that was targeted in this action, sits at the nexus of a number of problems that desperately need addressing:


  • the shift of university priorities from a focus on education to a focus on research (no classrooms in the biosciences building)
  • the increasing use of lopsided partnerships with corporate behemoths, particularly in the field of biosciences
  • the transformation of educational goals from liberal arts education to the churning out of well-trained technicians and technocrats for the aforementioned private industries (hence the “UC Santa Cruz, not UC Silicon Valley” banner)
  • the encroachment of development on forested areas in the midst of clear evidence of development-induced climate change across the globe as well as environmental degradation writ large (hence the “Save Upper Campus” banner)
  • the lack of responsiveness of the Regents to the needs and priorities of the people who both pay for the UC system and are its supposed beneficiaries (hence the “Ruck the Feegents” sign)
  • the lack of responsiveness of the university to the needs and priorities and problems of the larger community of Santa Cruz—the perennial town vs. gown problem evident in any university town.

The action seems, from here, to have been thought out and prepared quite well. The tree-sits could very easily have been set up without any interference under cover of night, but the organizers apparently decided to supply materiel to people already in trees as part of a relatively large group of protesters, thereby forcing the hand of local law-enforcement and guaranteeing significant press coverage. Nothing gets the cameras rolling—or garners the support of broad swaths of the public—more than batons swinging over the heads of student protesters. It could only have gone better if the police were mounted on horses. I personally have no problem with this. The police are of course at the service of state and capital, and their ultimately violent role in propping up the latter can’t be too often exposed in a culture still entranced by the myth of a police force duty-bound “to protect and serve”. I do find it a little disingenuous (or naïve) to hear some participants of this action cry “foul” because of police brutality, when the action was obviously calculated to foreground the extent to which the police willfully disregard the bounds of decent behaviour.

It does, however, lead me to ponder the differences between doing activism in Santa Cruz and doing it here, where the police and security forces at the tamest of demonstrations outnumber protesters 10:1 (not counting the legions of hired thugs) and the state is not embarrassed by the violence necessary to ensure its perpetuation. I do hope that activists in the US will take this into account, not because I think they should consider themselves lucky, but because I think they should take advantage of the extensive privileges they have to go even farther, with eyes wide open and in full acknowledgement of how much worse it could get and how determined they are to prevent this from happening. Stop harping on how you live in a police state and recognize that there is no such thing as a non-police state. The state and capitalism are necessarily violent and repressive, and in a place like the United States, locating the violence of state power in the persons of police officers will get you nowhere when the vast majority of people experience that violence not at the end of baton, but from a loan officer, the threat of a pink slip and a soul-crushing workplace.

That said, I’m very much excited about the work of activists against the LRDP and I wish them all the best of luck!

 Correction:  turns out they did intend to set up and supply the tree-sit ahead of time during the night, but were thwarted by the police before most supplies had made it up the trees.  Still, while the action apparently wasn’t specifically planned to “force the hand” of the police and was rather more of an ad-hoc response to the conditions, I do find the constant attention paid to police brutality somewhat irksome, especially in an official press release, where I would expect media people to stay a bit more “on message.”  Keep the police brutality stuff on Indymedia for the converts who need to be motivated to action, but the broader public still probably doesn’t get the point of it all (and, from comments on the Indymedia posts, is more concerned with the loss of parking spaces).

by Gwendolynn
Thursday Nov 29th, 2007 4:21 PM
"the increasing use of lopsided partnerships with corporate behemoths, particularly in the field of biosciences"

Who are these "corporate behemoths"? I keep seeing it mentioned in here but I have not seen the name of one corporation involved in the research at UCSC. It might be helpful if some of these corporations are named so that people can understand what they are dealing with, and the activists are fighting against. Who are they and what are the products they make?
by LaLaLa
Tuesday Jan 22nd, 2008 6:34 PM

And these are both funded by agencies of the Department of defense and US military. First one is funded by DARPA,
And the second is funded by the Office of Naval Research
URS Corp. held a contract worth $150 million for construction management services at UCLA’s Santa Monica Medical Center. URS also profited smartly off a July 2005 contract to provide management services for a major construction and engineering project at UC Berkeley.

About Richard Blum (UC Regent)
Richard C. Blum is an investment banker and the husband of United States Senator from California Dianne Feinstein. He is the Chairman and President of Blum Capital Partners, L.P., an equity investment management firm that acts as general partner for various investment partnerships and provides investment advisory services. He founded the firm in 1975. He also owns 75% of the voting stock in Perini. Blum is also chair of the University of California Board of Regents and a Director of several companies, including CB Richard Ellis.

Let me know if you want more examples, also. in case you didn't know, the UC Regents, along with the Bechtel Corporation, manage LLNL and LANL, the two largest atomic weapons research facilities in the U.S.

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