UC Berkeley will not force treesitters out

June 27, 2008 7:20:55 PM PDT
On Friday, U.C. Berkeley has agreed to provide rations of food and water for the treesitters, while negotiations continue to get them to come down peacefully. The university offered some changes to its plan for a sports facility, hoping to satisfy a judge.

The five remaining treesitters describe their situation as desperate. They have only a few gallons of water and they also are in need of food.

"Yesterday we began providing the people in the trees with minimum daily requirements of water based on what they said they needed. If they need food, we'll be ready to do the exact same thing," said Dan Mogulof, a U.C. Berkeley spokesperson.

In a Hayward court this afternoon, the treesitters' attorney planned to file a motion to ban U.C. Berkeley from forcibly removing the protesters from the trees.

"This is a dangerous situation, we want a court order. Verbal hems and haws won't do it," said Bill Simpich, one of the treesitters' attorneys.

Judge Richard Keller postponed the hearing until Monday, but not before both parties met in chambers.

"We did get informal agreement from, what I understand, was the highest levels at the university that they will not extract treesitters," said Carol Strickman, another attorney for the treesitters.

"We'll be presenting our arguments Monday morning at 9 a.m.," said Michael Goldstein, from the University council.

For 18 months, the treesitters have camped out in the grove next to Cal's Memorial Stadium, objecting to the university's plants to build an athletic complex at the site.

Also on Friday, the university responded to Judge Barbara Miller's questions about stadium alterations. Overall, the university backed down, removing design elements and a proposal for more non-football events. At the same time, UC attorneys asked the judge to allow construction to begin, meaning the treesitters would no longer be protected.

"It's not an option for them to come down because we can't trust the grove will be protected, if they come out of the trees," said a treesitter supporter.

"For every one we remove, we're going to be planting three new ones. So at the end of day, when the project is complete there are going to be more trees on that part of the campus than there are today," said Mogulof.


Load Comments