so the big ol’ rally was today (11 am baytree plaza), and from what I’m told (I was at work/writing paper all day) there was an overwhelming police presence–lined up at the base of campus, ready for action. Apparently 6 or 7 jurisdictions were represented. Apparently the rally marched up to Science Hill, to the site of the proposed biomedical facility that is the first real D in the LRDP. Apparently, early this morning (3:30 am) treesitters installed a platform up in a redwood, at the site of the proposed facility. The talliers were bringing them supplies, and had to force through a police line to do it. students were maced, arrested, told that their parents didn’t love them, sexually violated, you know, standard police procedure.
I only know this because one of the students in my american studies class (which just got out) was part of it, and we were talking on the bus ride back (he was going back to check in, I was going home, where I read the Sentinel article on the protest). you can definitely feel that something happened, there’s a sort of palpable feel of excitement in the air–bits of conversation heard walking past groups of people–“I got maced, but it wasn’t bad,” “they’re already out of jail,” etc.
I respect the beliefs and feelings of the protesters, but there’s one glaring question I have about this treesit: aren’t treesits generally started because of the imminent threat of development? Maybe not all sensationalistic, with idling bulldozers and sinister construction workers standing around, but enough to make people feel that if they don’t physically prevent it, the trees will be felled and ground will be broken.
the thing is, construction has been stopped by a court order, brought on by the university’s failure to adequately address the facility’s impact. the case is due back in court sometime in december, but considering the fact that mediation hasn’t even been started, and the university probably doesn’t want to pursue (costly) appeal and further litigation, there really isn’t any imminent risk to the small grove of trees.
the sitters state that they’ll be staying up there until the proposal is scrapped. optimistic? yes. idealistic? yes. likely? no. Come on, the University is hell-bent on expanding, are they really going to let a few college students stop them? no. are they even college students? don’t college students have to, like, go to class? It’s kind of hard to attend section when you’re up in a tree, isn’t it?
personally, I think expansion is imminent, and if it’s done intelligently can improve the campus and the surrounding area. protesters like these are a tempering influence, and thus serve a legitimate purpose. but their willful idealism and unrealistic expectations just kind of rub me the wrong way, y’know?
ucsc protest turns violent -SC Sentinel