End of Tree-Ring Circus

Leaving the branches on their own volition, tree-sitters circumvented chaos while UCPD handled situation aptly.

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Whatever goes up must come down. It took nearly two years, but the validity of the adage was reaffirmed last Tuesday with the descent of the final four tree-sitters. They ultimately made the right choice by voluntarily clambering down from their perch.

The scene at the oak grove by Memorial Stadium could have easily deteriorated into mass mayhem that afternoon. The ingredients for tumult were in place. Crowds of cheering, jeering and leering onlookers. Equally fervent protestors on the ground steadfastly holding on. News choppers flying overhead. Multiple rounds of negotiations with UCPD.

Instead of feeding into the frenzy, the tree-sitters opted to peacefully end the protest. Their eventual recognition of defeat and decision to comply with officers mitigated safety hazards for all parties involved. If force had to be used, we could only imagine how quickly these dangers could have escalated.

As the fight to save these particular 42 trees died along with the lone redwood tree that had housed the last few tree-sitters, perhaps these activists can devote their time to more worthy causes. If they truly care about the environment, as they claim, they could direct their efforts at protecting the ongoing destruction of rainforests. They should also be first in line to help the university plant the three new saplings promised for each tree that was felled. In any case, their efforts should be channeled into policy changes rather than staging another circus.

The tree-sitters' request for a Community Land Use and Capital Projects Committee, which would welcome more input from community groups in land use decisions, is a feasible and rational suggestion. To uphold its end of the bargain, the university should consider the creation of such a committee.

It's just one measure that could prevent a repeat of the tree-sit that has unfortunately overshadowed the campus for the past 21 months.






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