Stanford Students Set Up Encampment In Solidarity With Gaza, Advocating For University Divestment

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Amidst a nationwide surge in protests against the conflict in Gaza, Stanford University students have joined the chorus of dissent. On Thursday night, hundreds of students converged on White Plaza, erecting tents adorned with signs reading “Divest now” and “Hands off Rafah.” Some students opted to spend the night in the encampment, vowing to remain until their demands are met.

The university swiftly responded, issuing a mass email to students warning of the encampment’s violation of university policy, which could result in disciplinary action including suspension or expulsion. Additionally, the university cautioned non-student visitors at the protest of potential criminal and/or civil liability.

The complete statement shared with students is accessible on the Stanford University website.

In an interview with CBS News Bay Area, student protester Carlos Enrique Ramirez expressed his dedication to the cause, emphasizing its significance beyond individual concerns.

Mahina Kaomea, another Stanford student, spent her Friday among the tarps and tents dotting the campus center. She emphasized the students’ desire for the administration to acknowledge their stake in the conflict and their commitment to effecting change through vocal activism.

However, strong sentiments surrounding the Israel-Hamas conflict sparked heated exchanges on campus. One such incident occurred when a parent, Shahar Sehati, confronted the protesters. Sehati, a Jewish father from Iran who resettled in Israel as a child, found the encampment deeply unsettling.

Despite the opposition, Kaomea and her fellow protesters remained resolute, pledging to continue their occupation until their demands are met, undeterred by potential consequences.

Meanwhile, at UC Berkeley, students entered the fourth day of their encampment outside Sproul Hall. Their demands include the university denouncing Israel’s actions in Gaza as “genocide” and severing all corporate ties with the country.

As protests intensify across the nation, questions arise about the lack of police intervention at Bay Area campuses. In response, Cal issued a statement asserting their reluctance to involve law enforcement unless necessary to ensure the safety of the campus community, citing past experiences with peaceful political protests.

Governor Gavin Newsom affirmed his vigilance regarding the campus demonstrations, collaborating with university trustees to uphold peaceful assembly.