Stanford students end protest after meeting with university president

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- Stanford's president sat down with student protesters Friday afternoon, who have been blockading his office. A group called "Fossil Free Stanford" has been urging the university to divest its holdings in fossil fuel companies.

The week-long protest is over because students were warned they would be cited Friday. Stanford president John Hennessy agreed to meet with them briefly, but students left frustrated, yet hopeful after he said he would communicate their views to the university's trustees.

It has been five days of camping out and sitting in front of Hennessy's office. Their demand is that after three years of negotiations, the university needs to divest its holdings in fossil fuel companies. But Stanford came up with its own demand -- disperse or face citations for either violating student conduct or for trespassing.

VIDEO: Students push Stanford to divest in Fossil Fuel companies

The 100 or so students decided to wind down their week-long sit-in by making one lap around the main quad as part of a rally where they received word that Hennessy would meet with a contingent of them at mid-afternoon.

"We're not necessarily proud of our university, we're not proud of the administration's response, but we're proud of the faculty that have come out. We're proud of the alumni that have come out. We're proud of the 100 and plus students who have sat around this building and risked arrest for five days," Michael Penuelas, the student organizer for Fossil Free Stanford, said.

About 50 students did meet with Hennessy. Only the Stanford Daily newspaper was allowed to stay.

Union members who work as custodians and groundskeepers on campus turned out to show their support.

The university's trustees previously dropped its investments in coal companies, but have been evaluating other fossil fuel companies on a company-by-company basis. It has been a slow process that made students impatient.

Thirty students, including Earth Systems graduate student Yari Greaney, will now head to Paris for the climate summit.

"It's really important that we go as scholars and as researchers and by on-looking, by asking questions, we can move these conversations forward and hold people accountable to the people that they're representing," Greaney said.
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