Students ARRESTED?!!

Posted by at 6:59PM

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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?
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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.
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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.

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19 Responses to “Students ARRESTED?!!”

  1. Bradley Heinz says:

    My statement: I’d rather go naked than wear Stanford or other gear produced in sweatshops. Also, the organizers wanted to get big media coverage for the campaign, which is why I was approached and asked to lead a naked contingent of protesters, because it seems as though our administration only responds to negative press attention and not to students themselves.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Those “evil people” donate tons of money to Stanford, which helps EVERYONE, such as individuals on financial aid. I’d like to see the activists be willing to tell every student that he or she should pay more for Stanford’s tuition in order to support an effort which won’t even do anything meaningful. The activists were rightly arrested for trespassing, but are also guilty of the intellectual crime of ignoring the larger picture.

  3. CJ says:

    Did anyone really expect to get bathroom privileges? Not letting protesters use the bathrooms is a non-violent way of getting them to leave. I can’t fault the President’s Office for putting a little bit of perfectly-fair pressure back on the protesters. At large protests, organizers are required to make appropriate plans for bathroom facilities. Planning ahead and arranging contingencies is one of the responsibilities of civil disobedience.

  4. Anthony says:

    Anonymous-
    Why are you anonymous?
    And saying that we should not challenge the actions of organizations that give us tons of money because of our tuition will go up is like saying, “Don’t challenge apartheid, Board of Trustees, we won’t make as much money by challenging racist regimes.”
    It’s called doing what’s right, not what’s convenient!

  5. sam says:

    what is “right?” you ought to stop using the internet since your computer is consuming energy created by processes that hurry global warming along. you ought to convince your consultant friends in the industry to stop working for firms that consult for the healthcare industry, producing policies that screw the lower classes out of unprofitable healthcare coverage. stop using a car, period.
    when a group of people decide that their opinion is right, and that they have the right to enforce their opinion, things get iffy.
    it’s pretty immature to try to shame the admin into policy changes. it looked like they were making progress through normal channels too.

  6. Eric says:

    Yes, it LOOKED like they were making progress. There were plenty of meetings, lots of talk, but from what the organizers of this event tell me, little action. This school year is winding down, so they students had to take more drastic measures.

  7. Anthony says:

    Sam-
    You’re comments are confusing.
    Being right not using sweatshops is not a matter of opinion. Most ethical people would say it’s wrong for our luxury and comfort to come off the hard labor and horrible conditions of others.
    And if it’s immature to “shame the administration into changing policies,” well, I guess we should just do nothing and let the supreme authority that is Stanford make all the decisions with their infinite wisdom.

  8. Ray says:

    Sorry…I’m Anonymous from before; I just posted very hastily and forgot to put up my name. I’ve even put up my email address so the hate mail can flow.
    Three things-
    First, everyone who has made an ethical argument here has failed to communicate any comparative benefit from the policy change. If we stop buying clothes from these companies, it’s not like they’ll change their policies; more likely, they’ll lay off a few workers to avoid lowering their profit margins. It might pressure them to change in the long run, but then you’re making the tradeoff to harm some of those workers now to (possibly) help other workers later. I’m not sure it’s such a clear-cut ethical position at that point.
    Second, there is no reason why the Campaign’s goal should not have been a boycott–left to individual choice. That way, students could decide for themselves whether or not they wanted Stanford to continue buying clothes from these companies. If enough students boycotted the clothes, Stanford would have had to change its policies anyway. Instead, the students want to shove their own ethical views down the throats of everyone else in the school.
    Third, sacrificing tons of money from the donors affected is no mere “inconvenience” to the students on the margin who might then be told that they can no longer afford an education here. It might seem like a worthwhile sacrifice to you, but without donors like these people, Stanford WOULD have to cut costs somewhere. I’m wondering how many students the Sweat Free Campaign is theoretically willing to sacrifice in order to achieve their goals. Five? Ten? A hundred?

  9. Anthony says:

    Nikes donations are directed towards athletics, not the general fund or financial aid.
    So I fail to see your point.
    And just because you think no good can come of challenging immorality doesn’t mean we should throw up our arms and give in.
    That’s called cowardice.

  10. Anonymous says:

    If not being able to use someone else’s bathroom is your idea of mistreatment, you need to find something way better to feel indignant about.

  11. Anthony says:

    I think the arrests are what the stink is being made out of.
    The bathroom issue just a side thing, but ironic when you consider the president’s responsibility towards the welfare of students.
    But yeah, arrests I think are worth feeling indignant about.

  12. Owen says:

    The bathroom thing is indeed a side issue. But it was still messed up. I mean, why the hell wouldn’t they let students use the bathroom? And they didn’t just deny them the bathroom, they lied and said there wasn’t one. It’s just plain rude, I think.
    Ray: you have no understanding of what the students are asking for. Please go to the info session tomorrow.

  13. Owen says:

    Sam: It’s naive to believe progress was being made. Students have been asking the administration to sign on to the WRC and DSP for years. Do a search in the Daily archives. The administration is just playing the waiting game.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Okay, so it’s rude not to let the students use the bathroom, but it’s not rude to bust into someone else’s office and expect to be treated like kings?
    Grow the hell up. Some people actually have to work during the day.

  15. Anthony says:

    Anonymous -if that’s indeed your real name-
    It’s rude when our own president arrests students for peacefully protesting inside a building, for which there is a precedent of activism without arrests in that very building (remember SLAC?).
    And in fact, we are grown up. We stand up for our beliefs and not waste time denigrating students on comment boards.

  16. dizzle says:

    The anti-sweatshop movement seems to have no appreciation for nuance. SweatFree’s actions probably didn’t help their cause, and it’s not even clear if they’re right, anyway.

  17. Anthony says:

    It’s not clear if they’re right?
    I guess you’re right. Using those same lenses, it’s not entirely clear if children working more than 8 hour days for poverty wages in deplorable work conditions is morally wrong.

  18. Adam says:

    Why Protest? Don’t people learn from other protests? Protests are not new anymore- and if this were to be an Effective one, the activists should have all been nude.

    What students, and I think Stanford students (out of all students) should create something that is more than mainstream to jet line an idea or argument towards agreement instead of portraying a billboard; maybe a new form of marketing protest. Or maybe, just maybe, Stanford should make their clothing on campus. There you go, if the students can create their own products, graphics, fashion and sell it—and do exponentially better than Asian sweat shops- the students have won their argument. And because of that other Universities can start acting on their production creation projects. And because of that American clothing companies can start up again….

  19. Kris says:

    I like your idea Adam :) I agree that sweat shop labor is wrong, but I think there are better ways to win in a more cooperative and effective way than these protests.

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