At 2:00 a.m., police began the extraction of a hunger striker who had chained himself into the ground at the gate in the security fence surrounding Cornell University's Redbud Woods. The woods are to be turned into a 176 acre parking lot. The hunger striker was using a lock box created by a group of Cornell University students who has occupied the woods, and who finally left peacefully on July 18 after negotiating a settlement for their amnesty, and a series of agreements with the university administration to provide bus passes for new students and increase the accountabililty on issues of sustainability in the university. The agreement is regarded by most people in this protest as a significant accomplishment and the students are to be commended.
Protesting faculty did not sign the agreement, though many expressed their support for the students, while reserving their rights of protest.
After the extraction of the hunger striker, Jean-Piere Verdijo, a parent, school teacher and artist from Ithaca, NY, the police indicated they would not attempt to extract the protesters in the trees in the darkness, in spite of the floodlights in the woods.
A community vigil/breakfast is planned for 7:30 a.m. in the woods, and the administration spokesperson and staunch supporter of the parking lot plan, Vice President of Student Affairs Susan Murphy indicated that the construction crews would begin the "harvesting of lumber" (in preparation for the paving) of the woods.
A copy of relevant documents about this situation can be found at:
Cornell University will prevail in its plan to pave the woods, but the implications for the relationships between adminstration and faculty and the university and the City and Town of Ithaca are serious. It is fortunate at this point that there has been no violence. Credit for this should go to both the protesters and the Cornell Unvirsity police.