Stanford students end five-day sit-in for divestment from oil, gas companies | News | Palo Alto Online |


Stanford students end five-day sit-in for divestment from oil, gas companies


Stanford University students and supporters held a rally Friday culminating a five-day sit-in calling for the college's divestment from the fossil fuel industry.

More than 100 students camped out at the main quad since Monday afternoon outside University President John Hennessy's office demanding administrators divest from the top 100 oil and gas companies.

The action was organized through Fossil Free Stanford, a student organization that has been working on the effort for nearly three years, organizer Michael Penuelas said.

The group invited administrators to address any concerns at a 11 a.m. rally, where students were prepared to accept any charges the university may file against them, according to Penuelas.

On Thursday night, the university sent the group a notice stating that administrators are considering suspension of their request for divestment from oil and gas companies due to the action, which was a disappoint for Penuelas.

The notice also stated that if students didn't leave the quad with their belongings by 5 p.m. Friday the university would review them under its Fundamental Standard, which outlines conduct expected from students, Penuelas said.

The students have also violated the college's use of the main quad policy and trespassed in violation of state law since they are blocking an administration building, according to university officials.

The sit-in took place around a building housing the university's president and provost offices, where no staff have shown up since Monday, Penuelas said.

The students left the quad at the end of the rally to participate in a Transgender Day of Remembrance scheduled in the afternoon, Penuelas said.

The university has a Thanksgiving recess scheduled next week.

The group held a meeting with Hennessy on the issue last week and attempted to schedule another one with him for Friday, according to Penuelas.

Throughout this week, professors have held classes at the quad in support of the group's cause and teach-ins on environmental issues, Penuelas said.

About 30 alumni rallied with the students on Thursday calling for divestment and said they will not make contributions to the university unless they follow through with the divestment, Penuelas said.

Seniors have also pledged to not donate to the senior gift, a fundraiser that helps contribute to The Stanford Fund to assist in university scholarships, academic programs and student organizations, according to Penuelas.

Last year, the university divested from the coal after a petition brought forward by Fossil Free Stanford and recommendations from the Advisory Panel on Investment Responsibility and Licensing.

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7 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 20, 2015 at 3:30 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

This just proves that there is no accounting for opinion -- no matter how one-sided or two-dimensional it might be.

26 people like this
Posted by Dummies
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2015 at 3:41 pm

A whole week of classes missed for nothing, only to be shut down and sent away by the president.

Fine example they set for the local high school kids.

24 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 20, 2015 at 5:37 pm

They all need to go and prepare to fly/drive away to their fossil-fueled holidays.

14 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 20, 2015 at 7:29 pm

Thank you to the SU Administration / Management for taking charge of this situation which was allowed to spiral out of control. SU has enough issues generating "interesting" articles in the papers at this time so we do not need additional articles which point to civil disobedience / unprofessional behavior of both the students, administration, professors - and now the ALUMNI.

Coal is a reasonable divestment - I get very angry about the Duke Energy people on the east coast who showed up on a TV investigative show. I get very angry about the scheme to barge coal down the Columbia River to Portland to ship to China. That got squashed. Shame on the Department of Interior who was in part a participant in this scheme - I guess we owe money to China.

And the coal trains that are going to come to the bay area make me wonder where is the Silicon Valley Leadership Group that should be trying to stop this? Where are the key developers who have buildings next to those tracks? You know who I am talking about here. Key SU people with their names on buildings.

SU has dealt with the coal divestment so they are good to go. But the continuing activity specific to coal needs to taken on by the big boys who have money in the game - not SU students.

Hey guys - do not use students to fight your battles. Step up to the game. Alumni - if you have money in this game then you need to put your face on it - not push it onto the students and penalize SU.

However - oil / gas is a different topic. Every one with a high end stove in their home is using gas - that is just at the "home level" along with the heating. But oil and gas drive the turbines that produce electricity across this country and other countries. Wars are going to be fought over who can heat and feed people - and oil and gas are critical to this. Even South Africa knows this if you are a "divestment" person - they are going to build up their capability for oil / gas to increase development in the country..

I have been to a former soviet country and know how hard it is for the people there and how they are still in the "sphere" of control by Russia purely on the availability of gas and oil. That is a key political driver by Russia.

The tactics described in the article about retaliation by the students and alumni are disgraceful. The fact that the students got accepted by SU is a gift to them that they worked very hard to get. And their parents who supported them to get to this point. The Alumni should know this is a gift.

Don't devalue that gift [portion removed.] Contribute and pass the gift on to future students who want your support and acknowledgement of a job worked hard for and a vote for future success.

10 people like this
Posted by AllYouCanEat
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 21, 2015 at 6:47 am

Yawn... Two weeks from now all of this will be forgotten.

7 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 21, 2015 at 12:02 pm

Excellent article in the SJM 11/21/15 - "Stanford sit-in ends, no resolution".

SU has the most advanced program concerning green house gases and the most advanced sustainable power plant available - more than most cities or any other university. So the students have available the best that is out there from which to conduct their studies. Good going SU!

They left because they are on their way Sunday to Paris for the UN Climate summit. So we can assume that the sit-in was planned and timed relevant to the Paris summit.

Now they can report and be martyrs to the great overall challenge of divestment. Maybe they can check in with the folks from South Africa who are going to increase their utilization of gas as the third top priority to help in the development of their country. Their electrical system is not up to speed.

Can't wait to see how this gets followed in the future.

2 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 23, 2015 at 9:45 am

In the SFC and SJM 11/23/15 - "Major power failure in Crimea." The major power lines in to Crimea were blown up by "saboteurs" leaving over two million people without power. Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, depends on Ukraine for electrical power. Gas generators are being used to provide back-up electrical power while the electrical grid is repaired.

Climate change is happening but political control of the power grid is also happening and not always to other government's schedules or concerns.

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