Monday, June 17, 2024

Pro-Palestinian protesters arrested and suspended after barricading inside Stanford University president’s office


More than a dozen pro-Palestinian protesters at Stanford University were arrested and some immediately suspended from school on Wednesday after they briefly took over the president’s office, authorities said.

In the latest provocative campus action calling for divestment from Israel in the wake of the country’s war with Hamas, students and alumni entered President Richard Saller’s office at about 5:30 a.m. PT, according to the group’s spokesperson.

They vowed to “remain inside the building and are refusing to leave until their demands are met,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

But within three hours, the building appeared to be back in university control after campus police and Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputies took action, officials said.

“This morning, a group of individuals unlawfully entered Building 10, which houses the offices of the president and provost,” according to Stanford spokesperson Dee Mostofi. “Law enforcement has arrested 13 individuals, and the building has been cleared.”

The school took immediate action against students involved.

“A public safety officer was injured after being shoved by protesters who were interfering with a transport vehicle. There has been extensive damage to the interior of Building 10 and exterior of the buildings in the quad,” Mostofi continued.

“We are appalled that our students chose to take this action and we will work with law enforcement to ensure that they face the full consequences allowed by law. All arrested students will be immediately suspended and in case any of them are seniors, they will not be allowed to graduate.”

It wasn’t immediately clear if “will not be allowed to graduate” meant students would be barred from commencement ceremonies or kicked out of school entirely without being able to claim a degree.

Wednesday is the last day of classes for the spring term with graduation ceremonies set for June 15-16.

“We have consistently emphasized the need for constructive engagement and peaceful protest when there is a disagreement in views,” Mostofi said. “This was not peaceful protest and actions such as what occurred this morning have no place at Stanford.”

The protesters are demanding that the school divest itself of any financial interests in any companies “that provide material and logistical support to Israel’s current military campaign,” according to the group.

Students set up encampment at Stanford to demand end to Gaza war, divestment from Israel
An encampment at Stanford University to protest Israeli attacks on Gaza on April 25.Tayfun Coskun / Anadolu via Getty Images

College students across the nation staged campus protests this spring, demanding that their schools withdraw any investments they say are helping Israeli forces in their military operations in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli forces have been attacking the Palestinian enclave since Hamas invaded Israel on Oct. 7.

The most prominent U.S. campus action against Israel was taken by Columbia University students who took over a key building, Hamilton Hall.

The protests led to campus leaders bringing in New York City police officers to take back the building and clear a protester encampment. On-campus graduation ceremonies had to be moved to a football stadium 100 blocks off campus.



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