Update: The eleven arrested students were brought to the Stanford police station, processed and immediately released. The official reason for their detention was reportedly trespassing. A group representative said that everyone is doing okay. Also, the Facebook group expressing outrage at the arrests has 98 members as of 11:20pm; Hershey Avula, ASSU President, is listed as a group admin.
After the raucous Sweat-Free rally and sit-in held today, eleven students were apparently arrested by the Stanford police. The campaign website, which featured a live blog with entries and photos throughout the day, says nothing about why the students were arrested, or whether or not they are actually being held. Nonetheless, the students sound outraged about the way they were treated by the administration and the police today, emphasizing repeatedly that they were not allowed to use the bathroom during the sit-in at the President’s office, even though they would have been barred re-entry should they have attempted to venture outside of Building 10 for other facilities.
A Facebook group protesting the arrests was created less than an hour ago and already has about 28 members. In addition, a vigil for garment workers will be held at 8PM in White Plaza.
Um, did anyone in the administration think arresting students was going to help with the PR damage control effort?
Students turned out in droves to support the rally earlier today, which was meant to secure guarantees from the administration that Stanford clothing would not be produced using sweatshop labor.
In another strange twist of events, the short SF Chronicle article on the student rally seems strangely fixated on the fact that a few of the students were naked, noting “The naked protesters were a bit shy, and several were covering their private parts.” Mkayyy…
This Sweat-Free rally follows closely on the heels of the Stanford Labor Action Coalition’s Living Wage campaign, which resulted in significant concessions and a substantial press response from the University.
What is the explanation for the dramatic uptick in student activism? Interestingly, activism on campus seems increasingly oriented toward making Stanford a model citizen on the world stage. Recent examples include not only these two labor-focused issues, but additionally the successful Darfur divestment campaign, the Confronting Apartheid by Israel divestment campaign, and the broad campus sustainability movement that, among other things, is trying to get the University to commit to capping and reducing its emissions of carbon dioxide. Add that to recent publicity about the University’s cooperation with groups of decidedly evil people, like ExxonMobile (see here, here, here, and here) and the tobacco industry, and the Stanford administration just doesn’t seem to be providing the kind of moral leadership our students (and alumni and faculty, as the case may be) expect.