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With Students Gone, UCSC Tree-Sit on Alert
by Tree Sitters (upinthetrees [at]
Wednesday Jun 18th, 2008 3:09 PM
With UCSC students gone for summer break, the tree-sit and it's supporters are on high-alert

stop-ucsc-expansion.jpg During summer break, the UCSC tree-sit is on high-alert with expectations of a possible attack. In Berkeley this week, police, professional tree climbers, and cherry pickers were used to cut climb and supply lines. Similar techniques could be used here in Santa Cruz to remove protesters who've been in the trees since November.

Historically, UCSC has always cut trees and broken ground on controversial projects during summer and winter breaks. While students are off campus, the administration understands that resistance to their expansion plans will be minimized.

This pattern played out in Berkeley with an attack on Oak Grove tree-sitters comign a day after many graduation ceremonies. In Berkeley, tree-sitters protect a grove of oak trees at the site of a planned athletic facility. Rather than waiting for the courts, UCB police moved in cutting lines and supports a day before a court decision on a long-standing lawsuit.

Here at UCSC, tree-sitters are perched high above the ground in redwood trees at the site of a planned Biomedical facility. Now in it's eighth month, the protest opposes UC expansion plans to develop 120 acres of upper campus forest and add 4500 new students.

Supported by students, faculty, staff, and the Santa Cruz community, the tree-sit stands in direct opposition to UC plans to develop the campus and dramatically increase enrollment. Earlier this year, UCSC lost a suit to restrict supporters from bringing food and supplies to the tree-sitters. The judge ruled that the university was overreaching in its attempts to restrict free speech.

The UCSC tree-sitters suggest that if you care about the upper campus forest, come support the tree-sit.

SMS Alerts: from your phone

Following photos by Bradley (




§Stop UCSC
by Ground Squirrels Thursday Jun 26th, 2008 2:41 PM
Since November 2007, the UCSC tree-sit has thwarted plans to build a planned Biomedical facility. Supported by students, faculty, staff, and the Santa Cruz community, the tree-sit stands in direct opposition to UCSC expansion plans. Historically, UCSC has begun logging during student breaks. If you care about the upper campus forest, come help the tree-sitters.

We stand to lose a lot. Destruction of 120 acres of lush upper campus forest. Addition of 4500 more students to a town that can barely support the last increase of 5000 more students. All this to expand an institution that is already devaluing its own environmental values and commitment to an undergraduate liberal arts education.

Right now, all that stands between the UC administrators and the upper campus forest is you and I.

The UCSC tree-sit needs support in the form of food, water, donations, ground support, publicity, documentation, and legal support. Contact stopucsc [at] to see how you can help.

If you want to support the greater resistance movement to UCSC expansion, plan your own solidarity action collaborating with allies with similar passions.

We can and will win. The forest depends on it.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Double Standard Time
Wednesday Jun 18th, 2008 7:03 PM
You can't chastise UCB for not waiting for a court decision when you yourself have already ignored a court's decision.

Clearly your playing both sides of the game; trying to portray UC as wrong for not waiting for an official ruling, while at the same time ignoring an official ruling yourself.

Turnabout is fair play.
by pooh
Wednesday Jun 18th, 2008 8:08 PM
The courts, which are part of the same system of oppression and dominance as UC, usually side with the university and corporate interests. Occasionally however, a ruling will emerge from the courts that supports people rather than institutions, but all too rarely.

While I have no faith in or respect for the courts, the University of California alleges that it does. You can be assured that if it was in UCs favor to prosecute you for something, they would. So when the UC system acts in violation of the law, it is worth pointing out. It seems clear to me where the double standard lies and who lies about the double standard.

Personally, I hold institutions to a different standard, particularly when those institutions allege to represent me (though I don't agree). This is the case with the semi-public, semi-private University of California. This institution that maintains its own abusive police force, underpays it's workers, bypasses both state and local environmental law, intimidates its staff, undercuts undergraduate education, sells out to corporate sponsorship, and has a hand in the development of every major weapon system.

Not to say the UC system is all bad. In general, I'm in favor of people learning things. But when a good idea becomes a destructive system, someone needs to speak up. And right now, there is little standing between UCSC and the upper campus forest except us.
by coyote
Wednesday Jun 18th, 2008 10:49 PM
Great post, Pooh. So true.
by Doug Kaplan
Thursday Jun 19th, 2008 6:46 AM
Really good article about the tree sit from an alum (Class of 74).
by Double Standard Time
Thursday Jun 19th, 2008 7:47 AM
I stand by my original statement. When your picking and choosing to point to and laud the court rulings you won, while ignoring and lambasting the ones you've've lost credibility.
Thursday Jun 19th, 2008 10:10 AM
Doug, that's funny that you think you wrote a "really good article about the tree-sit." Doug, the article was not that good, and it was not about the tree-sit. If it was about the tree-sit, you would not be focused on Owl.

Protect the Environment, Defend Undergraduate Education, FIGHT THE LRDP!
by at ucb
Thursday Jun 19th, 2008 11:43 AM
Supporter scales light pole and joins Berkeley tree sit

As the battle between tree sitters in the Oak Grove near the Berkeley stadium and arborists hired by the university to cut traverse lines and remove platforms continued for the second day Wednesday, one supporter climbed a light pole to join the protestors in the trees. This rough video captures what happened.
by at ucb
Thursday Jun 19th, 2008 11:46 AM
Audio from UC Berkeley's Press Conference following court ruling

On Wednesday night the University of Berkeley held a press conference to respond to the judges ruling. This 35 minute audio file contains the complete content of the press conference. The left channel is from the audio board, and the right channel contains the rooms audio - some questions may be difficult to hear as a result.
by at ucb
Thursday Jun 19th, 2008 11:49 AM
Tree Supporters Prevail in Berkeley Oak Grove decision

Berkeley, CA-After two tense days of a highly dramatic standoff between University of California (UCB) police and supporters of the oak grove occupied by tree-sitters for 18 months that UCB wants to cut down to make way for a sports facility, the plaintiffs for the oaks prevailed in a complicated and long-litigated court case. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Barbara Miller issued her ruling shortly after 6 pm Wednesday, June 18, nine months after the trial and a year and a half after the lawsuits were filed. The large crowd of oaks supporters, holding vigil continuously since dawn Tuesday, awaiting the court’s decision, received the news jubilantly. About ten tree-sitters remain in their perches despite UCB police’s attempts to extract them with heavy equipment and contract climbers.
by voice of smartness
Thursday Jun 19th, 2008 12:09 PM

This is in no way a victory for the treesitters. It makes clear that the UC is within its' rights to pursue the project, though with modifications.

The SF chron article from today was written by someone who clearly didn't read the ruling in its entirety.

If you think I'm kidding, read the ruling, start with page 3.

Regardless of how you feel on this issue (personally, I'm in the middle!), there is no way this can be viewed as a "victory" for the treesit. This ruling will be used as a basis for the actual teardown of the forest.

by Not Doug
Thursday Jun 19th, 2008 2:32 PM
It actually wasn't Doug who posted the article on (which admittedly would sound like self-promotion). I put his name in the author line since he penned the original editorial.

Nonetheless, it really is an good POV since breakthroughs like ways cure blindness are being done at UCSC and even more good work will be done when the Biomedical Science Building is constructed. And by the way, since undergrads are doing some of that research (which is rare to find at larger schools like UCLA) having a Biomedical Science Building will actually help to defend undergrad education.

Also, the general principles of Church are still an excellent model for thoughtful development. It's not perfect, show me a place that is, but it's better than most.
by Rico
Thursday Jun 19th, 2008 3:20 PM
This is an unusually thoughtful Indybay discussion. Can someone provide a reference to Church? As a long-time Santa Cruzan and opponent of expansion, this would be interesting.
by Still not Doug
Friday Jun 20th, 2008 7:14 AM
From Wikipedia.
by Elsewhere, Resistance Continues
Friday Jun 20th, 2008 8:05 AM
A tree-sit erected on the route of I-69 was evicted Thursday afternoon. This is the super-duper highway being built to more quickly shuttle NAFTA goods from South America to Canada.

There is still a lot going on in Bloomington and Evensville, Indiana to resist I-69, a highway that means greater economic exploitation, thousands of miles of wild lands being destroyed, and people, homes, and animals in the path of this monstrosity being pushed aside. If your summer travels consider visiting the I-69 resistance campaign.

From where you can get up-to-the-minute updates:


June 20th 7am, Evansville Indiana — In the early morning hours of June 20th, around 25 police officers from the Indiana State Police (ISP), Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Gibson County Sheriff’s office descended on the scene of the anti-I69 tree sit, just south of State Road 68 in southern Gibson County (20 miles north of Evansville). The police officers, many of them trained specifically for this purpose, brought in “cherry pickers” and other platform raising equipment in order to reach the sitters. The two people in the trees at the time of eviction were lowered to the ground, after being forcefully and dangerously approached by Conservation Officers of the IDNR.

Sitting on platforms suspended 40 feet above the ground, the tree-sitters were not in positions from which they could be easily and safely removed. Arresting officers’ reckless behaviors, however, resulted in protesters’ quick eviction. One protester was not attached to a safety line during the eviction, but was still hostilely handled by the Conservation Officers. As they reached her with the cherry picker, they pulled her unattached to anything that would have prevented her tumbling to the ground, putting her life in great danger.

After evicting the first sitter, officers moved on to the second. They raised the cherry picker below the platform to threaten the sitter, and then lifted the platform with the cherry picker. They proceeded to cut the support line that was holding it in the tree. This protester had locked himself onto the ropes using a “lock box” device intended to help him evade eviction. The officers cut that rope, leaving this protester also without any form of safety.

After the tree-sitters were forcibly removed from their tree top positions, they were lowered, cuffed and placed on the ground below the trees. From a telephone recording made during the eviction, it is clear that the arresting officers purposefully laid one of the protesters face down into a patch of poison ivy.

People not involved in the tree-sit eviction this morning have reported to the media office that state police officers are pulling people over on the state highways in the vicinity of the sit. One person reports that they were surrounded by 5 police vehicles when stopped. As well, it has been reported that one car had its tires blown out by the state police in order for them to arrest all of the occupants of that vehicle.

The information in this press release was compiled by the I-69 Media Office, an independent anti-I69 media clearinghouse.
by Dragon Lover
Friday Jun 20th, 2008 8:54 AM
Make no mistake about who put who in jepordy. The tree sitters accept any and all risk when the CHOOSE to place themselves in harms way. They know that eventually they will be removed and the (or at least they should) know that that removal will not always be gentle. If you place yourself in potential peril you have only yourself to blame for the realization of that peril. Now placing a protestor face down in poison ivy is way out of line.
by You
Sunday Jun 22nd, 2008 2:17 PM
Specifically in the case of UCSC, the university is trying to muscle it's way through the local community, and it's all because of dollars. They want to ignore the needs of the city, students and majority of the faculty, and the summer is their backdoor through justice. History will not look kindly on their assault of democracy and the earth, but it is now that we must stand up for what is right, because they will stop at nothing to get what they want, and in their blindness they need our vision. Keep the cameras rolling, be ready to be present when they make their ill guided move, and keep organized. Remember how crowded and degraded the school will be, and that this is only the current phase of expansion, they will never stop expanding, as california's population rises, and there will be no forest left on campus, unless public accountability steps in and says "No, you are not going to destroy this town, this school, this community. It is ours, we who live here and suffer the consequences of it's development."

Something that gets overlooked is that the people in the trees go to great expense and sacrifice to do what they do, they spend time and energy, and do something most people' couldn't, because something important is going to be lost if they don't. They do it when public discussion and democratic decision making has been bypassed by the corporate greedmongers, when decisions are made by too few that affect too many. Public green space is what keeps humans sane, and we already have destroyed most of it. To cut down the last sad remnants of greenery, the lungs of society, is out of the question, and is a matter of self destruction. History shows that activists, whether their actions are approved of or not, fight for causes that eventually become accepted as worthy by they mass majority. If you look to the fifties, ignorance and emotional damage kept people from seeing the light until many a protestor had shed their blood to serve and educate the public. Global warming will rapidly become the most important aspect of life on earth, and anyone who suggests cutting down trees will soon be seen as a stubborn relic, like how we now see those hateful folks of the fifties. The university cannot expand. It is likely that it will be necessary to compromise and negotiate, to accept and allow that the science facility will be built, but the woods are not up for negotiation.
by me
Wednesday Jul 2nd, 2008 5:24 PM
but no one is complaining. I guess it's okay to kill trees when so-called artists will benefit. It's just the rest of us who aren't allowed.
by Critter
Thursday Jul 3rd, 2008 12:12 PM
Thanks for the info, didn't know about that, but it seems like that is the UC MO, expand expand expand. Cause it's all about the greenbacks for them, at the expense of our greenery.

I think it's silly to point fingers and criticize when people put effort in for something they care about, like these 120 acres up for slaughter, sure they could do a million things, but they're doing this thing, congrats to them for coalescing on something specific, and defending a wilderness habitat that makes UCSC very unique.

The trees in the parking lot are probably doomed anyway, there are professors who want it, and we can't win on every demand, if we reach for too much we risk losing it all. But along with the city, the majority of professors would not want the expansion of the student population, because it will degrade the education quality of the school. So maybe the arts center will be built, and maybe the lab will be built, both requiring dozens of trees to die, but that's a very different issue from adding 6000 students and destroying 120 acres, which would mean killing thousands of trees and animals, and overburdening the water supply of the city, risking drought, especially with the coming global climate change. Then there's the traffic, and difficulty getting any help from faculty when you're 1 in 21,000+. Think this through, and you'll see the tree sit is only a manifested representation of a thoughtful perspective of the proposed campus changes, which is shared by many people. The trend of society to cut down what stands between it and expansion has lead us to the dire situation we're in right now with the north pole almost completely gone. If we don't change our ways right now, we are headed for a mad max world of dust and hate.
by Robert Norse
Wednesday Jul 23rd, 2008 2:16 AM
(reposted from the Berkeley Daily Planet at

Judge Rules for UC Berkeley in Oak Grove Case
by Richard Brenneman
Tuesday July 22, 2008
Berkeley’s treesitters and Memorial Stadium neighbors who had sued to block construction of a gym at the site of the adjacent oak grove were dealt a resounding setback Tuesday.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Barbara J. Miller issued a judgment that upholds the university’s plans for a four-level gym at the grove site and hits the litigants—including the city and the late City Councilmember Dona Spring—with an order that they pay most of the university’s legal bill.

Her order also ends, on July 29, the injunction which has blocked construction and the destruction of the grove. Construction could begin immediately after that date unless the plaintiffs are able to win a stay from the state appellate court.

She also divided costs for the litigation, which produced over 40,000 pages of documentation and lasted 18 months, with 15 per cent to be paid by the university and the remaining 85 percent divided equally between:

• The city of Berkeley, represented by Sacramento attorney Harriet Steiner;

• The Panoramic Hill Association, represented by Alameda attorney Michael Lozeau, and

•A group of plaintiffs represented by Oakland attorney Stephan Volker, which includes Spring, the California Oak Foundation and several other Berkeley residents.

Just what those costs will include remains uncertain, with one university official stating that attorney fees probably wouldn’t be included. Volker agreed.

The judgment and order, which follow Miller’s June 18 decision on the case, don’t hand the university an unequivocal victory.

The judge rejected a claim by the university that the Alquist-Priolo Act, which governs construction within 50 feet of active earthquake faults, does apply to UC construction projects.

That decision won’t affect the gym project, since the university eliminated three features connecting with gym project with the stadium which Judge Miller had ruled in June were governed by the law.

She also gave the city a minor victory, denying the university’s contention that traffic, noise and other impacts from a planned seven additional events at the stadium were unknowable. The university sidestepped the issue by a decision to drop the planned events.

“We are very pleased by this decision,” said Dan Mogulof, the university’s executive director for public affairs.

“We see it as a vindication and validation of the process which led to our decision about where and how to build a facility that is absolutely necessary for the safety and well-being of our student athletes,” he said.

Volker said he will be filing an appeal on behalf of the plaintiffs he represents within the next few days, though he couldn’t speak for the city or the Panoramic Hill Association.

The appeal has to be filed within the next seven days, while the injunction is still in effect, in order to win an automatic 20-day continuation of the injunction, he said.

“It is our belief the judge misread the law and has misapprehended the facts of the case,” said Volker.

“The public has a vital interest in preserving the outstanding oak grove, and we believe we will be ultimately vindicated by the courts,” he said.

Steiner is on a vacation in Hawaii and was unavailable for comment, and Lozeau is out of state attending a family reunion, Volker said, while Zach Cowan, Berkeley’s acting city attorney, is scheduled to be out of town Wednesday through Friday.

But City Councilmember Linda Maio said the council will meet in closed session Thursday, “and we won’t recess until we’re done with this. Clearly, there are issues for us to deal with.”

Maio said the recent adoption of the state’s green building code also raises new issues.

Doug Buckwald, Director of Save the Oaks at the Stadium, issued this statement on Tuesday night:

"Today (Tuesday, July 22, 2008) at 4:30 pm, Judge Barbara Miller issued her final judgment in the case of the Memorial Oak Grove dispute in Berkeley, California. The timing of her decision is highly prejudicial to the Petitioners, and this will make it difficult for them to exercise their legal right to an appeal.

"Judge Miller issued a ruling which dissolves the injunction protecting the trees in seven days (calendar days, not business days) and so the university will be able to cut the trees down unless an appellate court issues a new injunction. That means that Petitioners will have to get a motion into appellate court as soon as possible to have any chance of saving the trees. Petitioners’ difficulty is magnified by the fact that two out of three of their attorneys are away on previously-scheduled vacations, and so they will be unable to participate fully in the process.

"Also, the Berkeley City Council will be in a summer recess after tonight’s council meeting. They, too, will have to grapple with making a decision about how to proceed in a very brief amount of time.

“Unfortunately, the timing of the court's decision makes it particularly difficult for us to proceed to the next step in the judicial process. The ruling has forced our legal team to rush into court with minimum time to consult with all clients and to prepare legal papers.

“I believe that we have a strong case to take to the appellate court. It would be a real tragedy to lose the beloved oak grove now, and then win in court later when it would be too late to save the trees. You can’t put stumps and sawdust back in the ground and make things all better again. Those beautiful, majestic oaks would be gone forever.

“Irrespective of the unfair time constraints of the judicial process, the university still could choose to do the right thing and spare the trees until the appellate court rules. That approach would be cooperative and would ensure that the legitimate interests of the city and community were not shortchanged on a legal technicality.

“I can only hope that university officials have listened to the many people in this community who have spoken out in favor of the trees for the past two years--a coalition which includes a broad spectrum of Berkeley society--and they will realize the severe and lasting harm that will come of any rash action on their part to cut the trees down while we may still be standing at the courtroom door asking to be heard. Ignoring the wishes of the community like this would be counter to its paramount obligation to the public it serves. If it does so, the University of California will be forever stained in the eyes of many people who have supported it in the past. “

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