Ivory Towers 9-17-08

After a 21 month sit-in, four protestors finally vacated the 90-foot redwood they had been occupying on the University of California’s campus at Berkeley last week. The group was refusing to leave the tree in an effort to save it from destruction, as the University plans to build a new athletic center on the site, necessitating the removal of the trees.

Authorities were preparing to force the tree-sitters down, but the protestors ultimately descended without resistance and were arrested upon return to the ground. The sit-in came to an end in front of a large crowd of onlookers that included students, town residents and media from across the nation.

In an article by Berkeley’s newspaper, The Daily Californian, Professor John Searle called the ordeal “an unusual combination of stupid and evil. Stupid because the trees were of no great ecological importance and evil in the enormous amount of money that this cost the University that could have been spent benefiting our students.” The University claims to have lost over $20 million during the course of the protest from security, legal and construction fees.

After the redwood is cleared, construction will begin on the planned athletic center, funded by private donors, at a cost of $124 million. After the 21 month delay, the project is set for completion in 2011.

The Daily Californian

Catholic priest arrested for dealing cocaine in U. of
Illinois student center

A Roman Catholic priest was arrested on Sept. 11 for selling cocaine at the Catholic Student Center at the University of Illinois. Rev. Christopher Layden has pled not guilty to the charges. The 33-year-old priest faces 30 years in jail if found guilty.

During a raid of the student center, University police found three grams of powder and drug paraphernalia. Layden has since been suspended from his duties as priest at the Epiphany Catholic Church in Normal, Ill.

Layden “faces two counts of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance and one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.” According to court documents, Layden has been selling and using cocaine regularly for several months. The University police used an informant who knew Layden since 2007 and had reportedly used with him “40 to 50 times” within the last seven months. According to this informant, Layden once snorted cocaine off of a framed picture of himself dressed as a Catholic bishop.

Those who knew Layden were surprised by the news.“That’s something you would not expect to hear,” said Carrie Ramsey, who attended Layden’s high school two years behind him. “He was very quiet. He kind of kept to himself.”

In reaction to the news, the pastor of Epiphany Catholic Church in Normal, Monsignor Eric Powell, said, “If it is true, its dreadful, simply dreadful.”

Pantagraph.com