BERKELEY, Calif., Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Protesters, their propane tanks and assorted sanitary issues, can stay in an oak grove near University of California-Berkeley's Memorial Stadium, a judge ruled.
In denying University of California-Berkeley's request to boot the protesters, Alameda County, Calif., Superior Court Judge Richard Keller said the university didn't supply enough evidence to show an immediate threat of fire or health problems, The San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday.
The tree-sitters took up residence nine months ago after university officials said it wanted to clear part of the grove for a sports training facility.
Keller scheduled a hearing for Oct. 1. Three lawsuits to halt construction are to be heard earlier.
The university asked the court to remove the protesters after police found several propane tanks in the tree houses and an increase in human waste spilled from the protesters' buckets, University of California-Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof told the Chronicle.
"We have a long tradition of honoring and protecting free speech on this campus but we also have to protect the safety of the students, community and the people in the trees," Mogulof said. "This is becoming a small village and we're seeing all the same sanitation and safety issues you see in any small village."