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July 7, 2008

America’s Universities: Negotiating with Tree-Climbing Criminals


It has happened yet again. Environmentalist extremists have literally taken to the trees in order to “protect” a small greenish area from planned construction work. The culprits this time are protestors at Berkeley, who have spent an incredible 18 months at the top of trees in order to prevent the university from building on the land.


One news article quoted a tree-climber supporter who gave her name as Citizyn: “They’re very well-trained tree climbers. They’re very experienced, and I have trust in them that they’re going to keep themselves safe and they’re going to keep defending the grove.”


Wait, you train for these things? Oh Citizyn, did you not make it out of tree-climbing boot camp yourself? It’s OK, I bet you’re the best bra-burner out there.


The situation has been quite ridiculous generally, but in the past couple of weeks, it has even gotten, err, gross. Arborists working for the university found themselves ducking to avoid feces being flung at them by the “green” protesters.


Of course, while any normal organization would not wait to take the necessary actions to get such repulsive individuals off of its property, the university decided to negotiate with the tree-climbers, begging them to lower their bodily waste on a daily basis in exchange for food. These negotiations led to what such negotiations normally lead to, namely to campus officials delivering the water despite the tree-sitters’ insistence on holding on to their excrement.


Now what is clear is that these tree-huggers are sickening social outcasts. What is not so clear is the rationale behind the administration’s insistence on negotiating with such individuals. What are these officials thinking?


The university should instead do one of two things: Either have the police get the protestors down, or leave them up there starved and sitting in their own filth.


But it is too much to hope that many 21st Century American university officials resort to such rational behavior – this surrender to those that would break the law and act repulsively is in fact part of a national trend in American academia.


The Berkeley tree-climbers, in fact, might have gotten their inspiration from an incident only three years ago at Cornell University. The university was planning on building a much-needed parking lot out of a hideous collection of brush and bushes severely mislabeled by campus environmentalists as “Redbud Woods.”


The “Redbuddies,” from students to professors, chained themselves to the trees and climbed up to their branches in order to stop the construction work. Of course, instead of considering these protestors trespassers and delivering them to police, the university administration proceeded to “negotiate” with this handful of extremists and ended up cutting a deal with them. The administration literally set up a tent in the woods, and had the university president sit under that tent next to a young, smelly tree-climber to sign an “agreement” whereby the school made several concessions in exchange for the Redbuddies’ descent from the trees. It was a very classy sight, so worthy of an Ivy League institution.


Today, the Redbud Woods have become the Redbud parking lot, servicing the Cornell community much better than the woods that had received no attention from anyone until they were designated for elimination.


But the road there was not pretty. If an uninvited individual climbed up a tree in your backyard, one clear course of action would be calling the police. If he flung excrement at you, the proper step would probably be sawing the tree down. But under no circumstances would you urge him to come down in exchange for anything of value.


Apparently, such basic logic does not apply to today’s American universities. It cannot possibly be comforting to consider that the same individuals who are negotiating with tree-climbing, excrement-pitching creatures are also designing every aspect of young Americans’ curricula. Something needs to change, or many simply need to go.

© 2008 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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