Students return as UCSC cleans up vandalism

January 7, 2009 2:43:41 PM PST
Students at the University of California at Santa Cruz returned to campus for winter-quarter classes this week as the university worked to repair damage caused by vandals last month.

Early the morning of Dec. 17, vandals slashed tires and broke windows on as many as 20 university vehicles, placed road spikes on Meyer Drive, and spray-painted graffiti in Porter College residence halls and the Core West parking structure, university spokesman Jim Burns said.

The graffiti contained messages condemning the prison system, law enforcement and growth at the university, according to Burns.

Campus police also discovered broken windows at Kresge College's Owl's Nest Cafe and University House, as well as damaged construction equipment at Porter College, Burns said.

Most students had already left campus for winter break when the vandals struck. Some faculty and staff remained on campus but the student residence halls were closed.

Classes started up again Tuesday, and most of the vandalism damage has been repaired, Burns said today. Some windows will be replaced at the end of the month, he said.

Burns did not yet have an estimate on the cost of the repairs and police have yet to name a suspect in the crimes.

"(University) police are continuing to ask for assistance in the identification of the people responsible for these dangerous and damaging acts of vandalism," Burns said.

Nonetheless, speculation has been circulating among students about who is responsible.

The vandalism was carried out several days after a group of tree-sitters protesting growth came down from their perches. The protesters had occupied a set of trees on a construction site for a proposed biomedical sciences building since November 2007.

A court order issued months ago had declared the tree-sit illegal. The last of the tree sitters came down Dec. 13, and a tree-cutting service went right to work trimming and removing trees.

A press release sent that afternoon from the "tree-sit media support" promised continued resistance.

"The end of the Tree Sit is not the end of resistance to the Long Range Development Plan," the press release reads.

"The diverse communities that united to oppose the destruction of upper campus are renewed in their commitment to resistance," it states.

A spokeswoman for the tree-sitters has not returned several phone calls.

University officials have said no connection has been made between the tree-sitters and the vandalism.

Anyone with information on the vandalism is urged to contact Detective Steve Garcia at (831) 459-2231, the UCSC police dispatcher at (831) 459-2231, the anonymous tip line at (831) 459-3TIP.