Stanford students arrested for barricading in president's office, allegedly leaving 'vile' graffiti

Thursday, June 6, 2024
Stanford students arrested after barricading in president's office
A group of pro-Palestinian protesters have been arrested after barricading in the Stanford University president's office Wednesday morning.

STANFORD, Calif. (KGO) -- Over a dozen pro-Palestinian Stanford students and alumni have been arrested after barricading themselves inside the university's president's office and vandalizing campus Wednesday morning.

In a statement, the university said 13 people unlawfully entered Building 10, which houses the offices of President Richard Saller and Provost Jenny Martinez.

The university says a public safety officer was injured after being shoved by protesters interfering with a transport vehicle.

In a letter to the Stanford Community, President Saller said there's "extensive" damage to the interior of the building and condemned the "hateful" graffiti on several buildings on campus.

"In addition to damage done inside the building, protesters committed extensive graffiti vandalism on the sandstone buildings and columns of the Main Quad this morning," Saller wrote in the letter. "This graffiti conveys vile and hateful sentiments that we condemn in the strongest terms. Whether the graffiti was created by members of the Stanford community or outsiders, we expect that the vast majority of our community joins us in rejecting this assault on our campus."

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According to the group Stanford for Palestine, university students and alumni locked themselves inside Saller's office around 5:30 a.m. to protest Stanford's response to pro-Palestinian protesters' demands over the Gaza conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Stanford says that the arrested students have been suspended and if any were seniors they will not be allowed to graduate.

"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," the university said.

The protesters said they refused to leave Saller's office until the Stanford administration and the Stanford Board of Trustees take action to address "their role in enabling and profiting from the ongoing genocide in Gaza."

Stanford for Palestine said the university has refused to negotiate with the pro-Palestine advocates over Gaza concerns. The protesters have accused Stanford University of "holding multi-million dollar investments in corporations that provide material and logistical support to Israel's current military" in the armed conflict.

RELATED: Pro-Palestinian student protesters at Stanford could face disciplinary action for encampments

Following the events Wednesday morning, officials were seen clearing the pro-Palestinian on Stanford's campus.

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

At the Santa Clara County Main Jail, supporters called for the release of demonstrators who were arrested.

The action by demonstrators sparked a chaotic early morning scene.

The aftermath of it was still around hours after with graffiti on a building's brick walls. Those arrested for the barricade said they weren't involved in the graffiti.

"They basically have maintained that they're entirely separate from any, like, more formalized body of Palestine student organizing on campus, whether it be an organizing body, whether it be an encampment," said a woman who goes by the name Emily and had been a spokesperson for the campus encampment.

Though she said these demonstrators weren't involved in organizing the encampment, she said they asked her to speak on their behalf.

"They have simply felt that they cannot observe any longer, is what they told me, and they have felt that there that the school is not acting in good faith towards students who have been acting in what they consider to be good faith," Emily said.

Adam Swart is the founder of Crowds on Demand, a firm that organizes advocacy events and demonstrations.

He called the move by demonstrators Wednesday morning a bad tactic.

"You're making it very easy to reduce the entire movement, the entire pro Palestine movement into the most violent, absurd, misguided acts, instead of keeping the focus on your core talking points about the human rights matter at hand," Swart said.

While allies of the arrested demonstrators were at the Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose are calling for their release, the university removed the encampment.

"I think that it's cowardly," said student Leah Waites of the clearing of the encampment. "They're retaliating against the entire encampment, even though they already arrested the students."

The university said it removed the encampment in the interest of public safety.

The spokesperson for those demonstrators said they made their decisions, knowing what the consequences could be.

Bay City News contributed to this story.

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