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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Santa Cruz Indymedia | Education & Student Activism | Environment & Forest Defense | Police State and Prisons
Tree Sit Ends But Resistance Continues
Santa Cruz, CA -- Over four hundred days ago, a handful of activists climbed up into the trees on Science Hill as a symbol of resistance to the university's plan to destroy 120 acres of campus forest. For the past 13 months, the tree sit has drawn attention to UCSC's reckless plan to develop upper campus without regard for the welfare of one of Santa Cruz's last wild ecosystems.
At approximately 8 AM this morning, the tree sit drew to a close as police seized control of Science Hill, arresting one Tree Sitter. Later, a tree cutting service hired by the university cut down a grove of 100 year old redwood trees to make way for construction of a new Bioscience building.
The three clusters of redwoods which have now been clearcut were inhabited since November 7, 2007, when over 500 students, alumni, and community members rallied in opposition to the University's "Long Range Development Plan". The Tree Sit and the University entered mediation to find a solution to this conflict, but the University was unwilling to modify any of their plans, despite the devastating effect that upper campus development will have on the Santa Cruz ecosystem. Precious watershed regions, unique manzanita groves and hundred-year old redwood forests will be destroyed by the University's development of the wild lands just north of campus. The homes of such rare native animals as the burrowing owl and the endangered red-legged frog will be irreparably damaged.
The Tree Sit tactic was employed due to the University's failure to meaningfully address the concerns of Santa Cruz city and county officials, community members, environmentalists and UCSC faculty and students. Instead of acting upon the concerns of the thousands of people who have voiced opposition to increased University construction, UCSC has spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to hire riot police to intimidate community members who oppose their plans.
The end of the Tree Sit is not the end of resistance to the Long Range Development Plan. The determination and integrity that sustained the 13 month occupation will continue to incite action against the Long Range Development Plan. The diverse communities that united to oppose the destruction of upper campus are renewed in their commitment to resistance.