U.C. Santa Cruz tree sitters grow nervous

September 10, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Tree sitters on another U.C. campus say they're more dedicated than ever to saving the school's redwoods. The protest at U.C. Santa Cruz began in an effort to prevent construction of a biomedical facility, but it's expanded and the demonstrators are well aware of what's happened at Cal.

The blue tarps, banners, and white buckets are all signs that U.C. Santa Cruz's tree sitters are not coming down. Members have been up in the redwoods since November of last year.

"We want to stop all of the planned building before even the first bulldozer is on campus," said Jennifer Charles, a UCSC Tree Sitters Spokesperson.

The tree sitters' original mission was to stop the construction of a new biomedical facility. Now, like the U.C. Berkeley tree sitters, the Santa Cruz group wants to also preserve trees on the north side of campus. That's where a sports facility and additional student housing was supposed to be built.

Knowing what happened at Cal on Tuesday is leaving Santa Cruz tree sitters feeling uneasy.

"We're definitely concerned a similar thing is going to happen in Santa Cruz. We are concerned they are going to come in and try to cut trees or try to evict us in a violent manner," said Charles.

For many at UCSC, it's the tree sitters who've made things uncomfortable on campus. This man did not want to be identified.

"We've all been angry about them because they've completely disrupted the activities on campus, this building behind you had been closed out for two full quarters you couldn't get in without an ID card or anything like that," said a man.

Back in March, a superior court judge ordered all the tree sitters to come down and anyone caught helping them by giving them food or water would be penalized, but as of Wednesday night, one person is still up in the trees.

"I'm not sure about this one I mean this place is going to keep growing and it's got to go somewhere, people have to go to school," said Tom Louagie, a UCSC Researcher.

The new school year starts in two weeks and the tree sitters plan to stay perched above it all for as long as it takes.


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