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Indybay Feature
Final Press Conference for Science Hill Tree Sit
by ~Bradley (bradley [at]
Tuesday Dec 16th, 2008 12:16 AM
On December 13th, tree-sit spokespersyn Jennifer Charles, tree-sit supporter Dani Drake, and tree-sitter Sorrel, held a press conference at the base of UC Santa Cruz to read an official tree-sit statement. They also spoke personally about the tree-sit, ongoing struggle against UCSC's expansion into Upper Campus and answered questions from the media, supporters and others in attendance.

The tree-sit drew to a close that morning when UC police seized control of Science Hill and arrested the last remaining tree-sitter. William's Tree Service, protected by fences and UC police, proceeded to cut down Redwoods and Oak Trees to make way for construction of a Biomedical building.

Audio: 26:13. Includes Jennifer, Dani, Sorrel and Q & A.
More audio is posted below the first three photos, which includes the Raging Grannies and final words from Jennifer on the next legal battles.
Listen now:
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You can read the final tree-sit statement at the link below:

Tree Sit Ends But Resistance Continues

Photos of the tree-cutting from that morning (December 13, 2008) on Science Hill are posted at:
and (part II)

You can also listen to the press conference held on the morning of November 7, 2007 when over 500 students, alumni, and community members rallied in opposition to the University's "Long Range Development Plan."

Long Range Resistance Press Conference (Nov. 7, 2007)

Last, but not least, below is a letter that was originally posted as a comment to the photos "part II" which is linked above.

To my children
by Mother Earth
Monday Dec 15th, 2008 5:01 PM

My dear little ones - how it pains me to see you quarrel with your brothers and sisters like this. Your "newspaper" claims this was a non-violent end but I can think of nothing more violent than cutting open the tree people and pulling them out by their roots.

I've tried to send you signals, as have the tree people, as have the crow people, but you invaders have forgotten how to listen. You speak a monosyllabic tongue of violence and insist that everyone around you speak it too. You take and take, and it is never enough, and yet, never give back. You act as if what has been here long before you belongs only to you and accuse the few ones left of being violent if they resist you. If only you could hear how happy the tree people were to share their canopy views with wild humans once again - oh, to wake on a cold morning to the rising sun and know that a brave few are risking their only gift of life to defend yours.

It is with such a deep sadness that I feel now - sadness not just for the tree people but for the pale faces too. They are accursed with an emptiness that will never be fulfilled - the ones who carry weapons for the ones who bury themselves alive in offices, they will all someday return to me not knowing the wisdom that can only come by walking the good path of balance. A wisdom, that their kind once possessed.

To that end, though I know I cannot change the minds of the people who have done this heinous act. I want to assure you that someday, the tree people, the bird people will find their way back to what will be the ruins of your structures. For you see, your missiles, your tractors, your paper laws, your bullets, your chancellors, and judges will not bother me in the long run - Indeed, they are of very little concern when matched against my hurricanes, my tumors, my floods, my insistence that the sacred balance of "what you consume now, will consume you later" be recognized. You see, I do not sign treaties and I do not abide by your artificial laws. The one thing I can promise you is that this will not be the last time you hear from me.

Your Angry Mother
§Final Press Conference for Science Hill Tree Sit
by ~Bradley Tuesday Dec 16th, 2008 12:16 AM
by ~Bradley Tuesday Dec 16th, 2008 12:16 AM
§Raging Grannies
by ~Bradley Tuesday Dec 16th, 2008 12:16 AM
§Raging Grannies: Up in These Redwood Trees
by ~Bradley Tuesday Dec 16th, 2008 12:16 AM
Listen now:
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§Raging Grannies: Nesting Is Not Just For Birds
by ~Bradley Tuesday Dec 16th, 2008 12:16 AM
Listen now:
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§Jennifer Charles on the Next Legal Battle
by ~Bradley Tuesday Dec 16th, 2008 12:16 AM
Listen now:
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More information is available at
§You Can't Cut Us Down!
by ~Bradley Tuesday Dec 16th, 2008 12:16 AM
§Williams Tree Service and UC Police
by ~Bradley Tuesday Dec 16th, 2008 12:16 AM
§Witnesses of the Destruction on Science Hill
by ~Bradley Tuesday Dec 16th, 2008 12:16 AM
After the press conference at the base of UCSC's campus, some people went to Science Hill to see what happened in the morning.
§Cut Trees and UC Police
by ~Bradley Tuesday Dec 16th, 2008 12:16 AM
§Fallen Trees
by ~Bradley Tuesday Dec 16th, 2008 12:16 AM

Comments  (Hide Comments)

Strange, isn't it, that at the very moment the tree-sitters had the greatest chance for halting the construction (due to the fact that it's also not economically affordable, what with the state budget collapse), they pack up and go home?
by activist
Tuesday Dec 16th, 2008 4:02 PM
what's the story behind this?

tree sitters go into mediation for weeks, then come out and give up? what was the deal? not to press charges? I imagine some sort of nondisclosure statement was signed.. 'cus the press conference gives no details.

or were the tree sitters not willing to go through another windy winter?

regardless.. thank you for all that you did! I'm sorry more of the santa cruz community didn't get its act together to stand up against the Regents.
by the rest of it
Tuesday Dec 16th, 2008 5:13 PM
Simple, most were not even from around here or had any affiliation with the campus. The so called crowd at the press conference was pretty weak by any estimation. It's clear the secret negotiations resulted in some behind the scene agreement that had to benefit a small protion of the group. Too bad they forgot to tell the poor bastard left in the tree who still got arrested. Can't trust the UC? Sounds like you can't trust each other too!
by Not quite an insider.
Tuesday Dec 16th, 2008 8:08 PM
Mediation didn't work: the Regents weren't willing to compromise on anything. However, it became apparent that they would soon attempt to end the treesit forcibly. The demonstrators did not want to have a violent conflict or a mass arrest. I believe many of them would have stayed if there had not been that threat of a violence. I don't know why the last guy stayed on. He was the only person present at the end who did not work for the University. The folks who arranged the press conference had very little contact with him before reading the statement. Thus, they did not give a detailed description of what had happened.

And the next commenter... You are correct in your suggestion that many of the demonstrators were not long time residents of Santa Cruz, nor were they students. However, I'm unclear what relevance this has. Perhaps you think only locals should be involved in political action to make this city a better place? I think that environmental activists are not particularly concerned about the specific location of the environmental devastation. We could draw the analogy with the hoards of civil rights activists from Northern States who went to the Southern States durning the 1960's to participate in solidarity actions with Southern people of color. As for the number of people who turned out, the press conference was organized in a mere four hours in the middle of a Saturday morning. Given the constraints, I'd say the turn-out is pretty impressive. Finally, do you really think the University of California--well-funded, boasting their own private police force, and politically soverign--is going to be compromising with the radical activists in such a way that they'd be offering favors? A behind the scenes agreement that benefits the upper crust of the treesitters? That doesn't even make sense! None of them got anything from the University in exchange for coming down. Do you really think that some anarchist kid who is willing to incur political persecution and legal trouble for forest preservation is going to cave for political or financial favors, anyway?

The amount of speculation presented as fact on these comment boards drives me crazy, as does the absurd amount of "criticism" (more like judgements) from people who clearly never do anything besides sit behind their computer.

There were no secret agreements nor confidentiality clauses made with the university, because there was no deal reached with the university. The university went into negotiations without being willing to offer anything except for dropping charges. They said they would not change their plans. So negotiations ended. Certainly the speculation that the deal was that they wouldn't press charges is absurd, since the tree sitter was charged. And most tree sitters and supporters actually are former students, though a few are newer to town.

As for the Tree Sitters "giving up," maybe you didn't notice the 90 riot cops on a completely empty campus that day. So there was one person against 90. I don't know if I would call that giving up. I also think that living to fight another day, not dealing with hospital bills, psychological trauma and legal fees and instead focusing on finding new ways to stop the university's plan, is pretty good strategy.

All these comments about what the tree sitter should have done makes me pretty sad. why weren't you there? why didn't you stop construction at the moment of "the greatest chance for halting construction?" (by the way, that building is already funded, and the university was intent on building it at all costs.) Why haven't you done something effective? When will you get off your ass? What would it take for you to take the risks that the tree sitters took?
by Keep it Real
Wednesday Dec 17th, 2008 9:23 AM
I think your passion for your cause has confused you on some significant issues surrounding the tree sit. Your message reminds me of that of a zealot whose saying that if I don't agree with him/her 100% then I am one of "them". There is plenty of middle ground on this issue, as there is on any issue.

A) We do more than sit behind our computers. Don't kid yourself that we're too lazy to support you. It's rather that I don't support your tactic, or cause.

B) There are few if any current students supporting the tree sit. The lack of their presence at the one-year anniversary and the final days speaks volumes.

C) What it will take for me to take the risk that the tree sitters took is conviction that your cause is worthy. So far, you haven't convinced me. I see more value in the potential that the new facility will bring than I do in those 50 trees that were sacrificed.

by Paul
Wednesday Dec 17th, 2008 12:14 PM
There must have been some kind of deal. Is it a coincidence that the day the construction people showed up to bring down the trees the tree sitters were already gone? Come on. The sitters knew what was about to happen, and they took off before legal action was to be taken.

I bet the University said something like "Those trees will be coming down on this day. You have a choice. Stay in the trees and be forcibly removed at which time legal action will be taken against you. Or you can leave in the middle of the night, no one will be around to arrest you, and you can say it was your choice." It looks like they chose the latter.

I just can't imagine that University staff showed up one morning on a weekend, saw that the tree sitters were gone, and had the crews to cut the trees down within an hour.

While the cause was a good one, I was very disheartened to hear that they left all of their trash behind. Not very good stewardship of the land. And unfortunately by leaving the trash behind it left an exclamation point on the whole event for the opponents.
by Surely a coincidence
Wednesday Dec 17th, 2008 12:54 PM
I know the tree sitters disavow themselves of any vandalism, but it sure is suspicious that the campus science buildings all got vandalized repeatedly during the tree sit, the business in Watsonville that hauled away the ground camp detritus got vandalized, and then today on campus, the first dry day after the trees came down, multiple cars got vandalized.

Tree sitters: you aren't winning any hearts and minds with these tactics, and you're damaging the property of a lot of innocent and non-involved people.
by Campus Guy
Wednesday Dec 17th, 2008 1:10 PM
The vandals used a glass etching compound on the windshields of several vehicles. This compound can cause nasty chemical burns and destroys the glass. Tires were slashed, spikes were left in the road than punctured the tires of at least one moving vehicle and wondows broken out in several buildings. Way to go eco heroes. You have caused dozens of tires to be sent to the ladnfill in addition to the dozen or so windshields and other glass from the vehicles. Not to mention the oil needed to replace perfectly good tires. Except for some extra work to replace tires and glass UCSC won't even notice what was done in a day or two. But hey the extra security will be UCSCs fault since they are going ahead with the new building. Not your fault that you had to retaliate in an unproductive manner.
by Campus gal
Wednesday Dec 17th, 2008 5:11 PM
just a quick response to campus guy and the other defender of private property - on the contrary, there are quite a few folks out there who secretly don't flinch at the tactics being employed against the nasty industrial machine you call boss. and hey, didn't you know that sometimes if you break a machine enough times, it gets too expensive to replace anymore and remains broken? why do you think opec is cutting the production of oil right now? in their own words it's because they need to assure investors that further oil exploration/extraction will pay off. nice work monkey wrenchers - keep the beast bleeding.

by Stripe
Wednesday Dec 17th, 2008 6:58 PM
What are the details - where were the cars targeted (such as a parking lot affiliated with a certain college) , and was it random, or a certain type of car?

I think the LRDP opponents are winning by default. The state's finances are in serious trouble. This biomedical building is in an already cleared part of campus. The north campus plans were for regular educational buildings (as I understand), and they are unlikely to have much outside financing. I think people can think about the plan again in 4 years at best.
by Local
Thursday Dec 18th, 2008 9:00 AM
Campus gal - have you considered that when you keep breaking a machine, the resulting hit might not be to the machine budget but to the budget of some department that is completely uninvolved, and some financial aid program for first time college students, and some account that could have paid for more safety lights?
by Campus Guy
Thursday Dec 18th, 2008 10:34 AM
Campus gal local has a very good point. The vehicles vandalized were the facilities service vehicles. These are the folks that keep the lights on the toilets flushing and the buildings warm. They won't have use of their vehicles for some time so if you get cold in your building or the toilet gets stopped up then thank your heroes the vandals.
The public-private partnership behind the expansion of the pharmaceutical/medical device division on campus is called QB3. It involves partnering the University of California with some of the biggest corporations (and biggest polluters) on the planet, such as General Electric and DuPont (1).

In all cases, the intellectual property generated using taxpayer dollars will be under the sole control of these giant corporations - that's what they get in exchange for their measly contributions, while the state is supposed to foot the rest of the bill. Some entrepreneurial scientists love it as well, because they are promised a small percentage of the royalties - essentially, they get to play at being start-up company owners while drawing a fat salary from the public purse.

QB3 "Industry Partnerships" include the following corporate interests:

Agouron Institute
Amershan Healthcare (MediPhysics & US Biochem)
Becton, Dickinson and Company
Burroughs Wellcome
Ciba Vision
GlaxoSmithKline (fka Glaxo Wellcome)
Gryphon Sciences
Real Time Health, Inc.
Research Corp.
Scios, Inc.
Syntex (Roche Biosci)

There are numerous examples of this kind of thing in UCSC's own departments already - for example, everyone knows that natural sponge-derived compounds may have anticancer or other properties. What you may not know is that those compounds have been patented by UCSC researchers (Crews et al) under Bayh-Dole laws (enacted in 1980), and that the patent has been exclusively licensed to one Gallileo Labs:

What that means is that "intellectual property" (really just natural compounds, not even true inventions) discovered entirely using public money at a taxpayer-supported institution will end up in private hands - that's just one example. There are literally dozens.

So, that's what the increased student fees are going for - a corporate privatization of the university, managed by a handful of people like Kliger and Blumenthal - their kickback is that they are appointed to lucrative and powerful positions within the academic structure as a reward for doing the bidding of these giant corporate interests.

by Campus Guy
Thursday Dec 18th, 2008 11:50 AM
QB3 is a group of the three UC campuses and local biotech companies. The biotech companies dump money into a pot and it gets distrubuted to researchers with out any strings.
As far as the sponges go anon, can u utilize them in their natural state for healing? Probably not. The researcher did the work to isolate the natural compound (much like a steel mill isolates the iron ore then processes it). Yeah the companies make money but the university is not a manufacturing facility. The researcher gets some money and so does the company that spends the money to manufacture it as well as the university.
by John Thielking
Thursday Dec 18th, 2008 12:03 PM
There was a time when I could absorb the cost of having my car vandalized, but that time has passed. Random acts of vandalism are not to be cherished in any form.
by Seriously
Thursday Dec 18th, 2008 12:28 PM
Where do you live? I don't agree with your politics, so should I come by and vandalize your car...bang on your door and scare your some fliers up threatening you and identifying your personal information...make some threatening phone calls...maybe even set up a tent in your front yard for a while?

Yeah...I thought not.

Your are not activist anarchists, you are punk vandals. If these anarchist tactics are used against you, you squeal for your rights and demand police protection and a lawyer.
by ex-resident
Thursday Dec 18th, 2008 1:24 PM
"The vandalism includes:

• Broken windows at Kresge College's Owl's Nest Cafe and at University House.

• Tires slashed and windows damaged on up to 20 vehicles, including Physical Plant trucks and an electric car at Kresge.

• Damage to construction equipment at Porter College.

• Graffiti in Porter College residence halls and the Core West Parking Structure.

Road spikes designed to puncture tires were found on Meyer Drive, a road that leads to the chancellor's on-campus home and office."

Environmental protection is a worthwhile cause. However, you aren't activists. You are a bunch of shithead vandals. If smashing shit and spraying graffiti is truly empowering to you and is so justified, then your arrogance and ignorance is masturbatory, despicable and insulting to anyone who has actually done any real work on these issues.

By proxy, you defame and insult everyone who challenges the UC through legal means- filing lawsuits, criticizing the EIR, etc. You do more to damage the cause of LRDP resistance than an army of cops, bulldozers, and UC regents. You don't speak for the students, you don't speak for environmentalists opposed to growth, and you sure as fuck don't speak for me.

You are sowing the seeds of a future shitstorm. Can't wait for you to reap the harvest.
by I agree 100%
Thursday Dec 18th, 2008 2:58 PM
I grow less inclined to support the anti-lrdp crew the more they continue these tactics. While I support many of their issues, I don't want to support, or be associated with, individuals or a group that engage in this type of activity, or even offer it tacit support.
by Campus Guy
Friday Dec 19th, 2008 9:15 AM
I find it interesting that no one has claimed credit for the damage and issued a manifesto as to why. Some idiot breaks a bank window and issues a grand statement of solidarity with the baby seals in Australia or some such cause. This grand event and no one says a word.
by Campus tree
Friday Dec 19th, 2008 9:28 AM
Hi everybody! It's so nice to see everyone having such an intelligent and polite conversation here on what you call "cyber space." How lovely it would be to continue this discussion within a redwood grove (I'm a madrone myself, but still admire the reds), as the morning mist clears and the crow people call to each other.

I'm told by my forest brothers and sisters that commentators like "ex-resident" and "seriously" aren't the sheeple or undercover police the wild human(e) ones make them out to be - that in fact, they don't really mean to call people they've never met names, or legitimize a legal system that presumes I am but a mere object, a "resource" if you will, to be be cut up and chopped down at a whim. No, I feel it deep within my fibers that they've simply been away from the land for too long to remember their connection to me, and me to them.

I will say though that the medium is much of the message here - that the domesticated ones who get so alarmed over the destruction of machinery (which is directly and indirectly responsible for the rape of the land) are under the false premise that their paper-laws serve the land's interest as much as it serves their own. They believe that the only proper way to settle disputes is inside an office, talking about "land management", or through people who speak the Propertarian tongue of paper laws (lawyers), or via "cyber space." Were I to simply tell them that they have long since forfeited their jurisdiction over the land, that I, as well as the crow people, and other people of the forests have a will and desires of our own, that we are their equals, and should be afforded respect, they'd laugh.

The wild people often tell me, the domesticated ones are like the slave-owners and plantation over-seers who insisted Africans were inferior as a way to justify their systematic violence against them. To that end, I am sorry that the domesticated ones do not see that their system is obsessed with trying to tame what should not be tamed, and kill what has as much right to exist as they themselves do; i am not sorry their precious machines are becoming targets.

campus tree

p.s. to "seriously" - you already know where I live. You also know where my cousins used to live on "science" hill. You came and did much worse things to me and the land than have ever been suggested be done to you. Remember that.
by Campus Guy
Friday Dec 19th, 2008 3:55 PM
So Madrone how do you like all the HF acid the rain is washing off the glass of the vehicles your heroes vandalized. Bet the Ravens and the little squirells just love lapping that tasty stuff up.
by ex-resident
Saturday Dec 20th, 2008 12:41 PM
"I'm told by my forest brothers and sisters that commentators like "ex-resident" and "seriously" aren't the sheeple or undercover police the wild human(e) ones make them out to be - that in fact, they don't really mean to call people they've never met names, or legitimize a legal system that presumes I am but a mere object, a "resource" if you will, to be be cut up and chopped down at a whim. No, I feel it deep within my fibers that they've simply been away from the land for too long to remember their connection to me, and me to them."

To imply that because we disagree with vandalism somehow makes us "sheeple" or undercover police is laughable and characteristic of the extreme divisiveness/paranoia present within your "movement."

Change, be it radical or otherwise, is best achieved through discourse and consensus building- not vandalism or violence conducted by a few. I won't be so naive as to claim that every issue can be resolved by working within the system, and sometimes, direct action or confrontation is required. Examples of this include the civil rights movement (which wasn't 100% non-violent as some would like to claim), slave revolts in the south, etc. The difference between those things and this is that the civil rights movement already had popular support throughout the nation, and confrontation was needed to affect change at the institutional level in order to remedy entrenched, structural barriers to progress. The treesit and the radical LRDP resistance has not enjoyed popular support from the students, faculty, or community at large- even though the LRDP and campus growth remains a contested issue that many do not support to begin with. The fact is that these people, far from being "sheeple", realize that it's consensus building and fighting in the arena of public opinion and law that have the best chance of stopping growth or environmental destruction. To suggest that a bunch of vandals (whose status as UC students or even residents of Santa Cruz is questionable at best) somehow speak for the majority of people with anti-LRDP opinions is laughable and shortsighted at best, and arrogant, ignorant, and guilty of the same paternalistic "we know what's best" attitude you accuse the UC of having at worst.

The key issue here is that those who are prepared to engage their communities and achieve consensus have a much better chance of success than those who take it upon themselves to perform anonymous vandalism. I ask you: do you honestly think that monkeywrenching, sabotage, and defacement of university property will somehow attract the unactivated throngs to your cause? Do you realize that glass etching creams will deleteriously affect soil quality on the UC and along the path it takes to the already polluted ocean? How do you reconcile that slashed tires and broken windshields will end up in the landfills and contribute to an ever-growing pollution problem with your professed love for the environment?

I, too, love the beautiful natural environment of UCSC, Wilder/Gray Whale Ranch and always had a profound appreciation for its majesty when I would hike or mountain bike through them. I want a sustainable, beautiful ecosystem for my children to enjoy as well as a university that can adapt to meet growing needs of the state as well as humanity itself. The key difference between you and me is that I fail to see any strategic or tactical value in engaging in these divisive tactics- far from "keeping the machine bleeding," you're only bleeding yourselves and detracting from what would otherwise be a laudable goal. If you feel like anyone who disagrees with you is either an undercover cop or not subscribing to "correct" thinking, then you've completely doomed yourself to irrelevancy.
by another ex-resident
Saturday Dec 20th, 2008 3:47 PM

Funny how i can see the Truth in ex-resident and Campus Tree...Things to consider: is it considered "property damage" or "violent" to chop down the trees? If i went out and did it it certainly would be. Is it ownership that makes things legal or illegal? Does ownership give you the right to do it? The UC has all the power in the world to act without concern for local interests. They are an independent interest. This fact alone makes them a difficult entity to deal with. They don't need to deal with local people unless they want the good PR. I have been to their meetings: it doesn't work. So, what do you do after that? Give up? Write a letter to The Sentinel or Indymedia?
Granted, ideologically, there is some distance between folks like "ex-resident" and "Campus Tree." Tactically, when you have to resort to acting outside of the law, there is going to be a split between yourself and those who will not or cannot make this step. I think there are many in Santa Cruz who support the treesit goal of slowing down or stopping campus growth, but that some of the more "liberal" people are turned off by tactics like vandalism or some of the ideology being spouted. Is there room for people having different opinions, but acting in concert, even people who might not share the same ideology or inclinations to socialize? Yes, the treesitting could have embraced a wider spectrum of people, but where does the fault for that lie, not to point fingers, or is that a peace sign? Like many other activist type causes in Santa Cruz, the treesit has fallen victim to splintering. What divided overcame that which unified, unfortunately, and we all need look at ourselves and ask why, as well as appreciating all the hard work, love, and dedication it took to sustain a treesit for over 1 year......peace.
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