Update, June 5, 2024: The president and the provost sent this message on this morning’s occupation of Building 10 to the Stanford community.

Update, May 23, 2024: Stanford President Richard Saller today made the following remarks to the Faculty Senate:

On Monday evening, as part of a protest march on campus, a group of individuals entered an engineering building where students were present and working in labs. The marchers who entered the building blocked entryways with constructed barricades they had brought with them and furniture from the building, and vandalized an interior wall and door with spray paint.

We have learned that students who were at work in the building were frightened by the intrusion and were concerned for their research and lab equipment as well as their personal safety. A faculty member whose lab is in the building shared that the research in that lab was sensitive and dangerous to those unfamiliar with the safe operation of the equipment.

The individuals who entered the building dispersed once public safety officers entered. Nevertheless, the actions that occurred on Monday evening threatened the health and safety of our community. The peaceful expression of viewpoints, which we value, can and should occur within the university’s time, place, and manner provisions, without vandalism, and without jeopardizing the safety of our community members.

Over the last three days, the university and the Department of Public Safety have been investigating what occurred and collecting evidence. We are beginning disciplinary proceedings based on the evidence collected, which included items left behind such as personal identification, hardware associated with the barricades, a respirator mask, and other items that indicated an intention to occupy the building. The investigation also is continuing. We will respect the privacy rights of those involved. However, I want to be clear that students responsible for actions that threaten the safety of our community, such as those that occurred on Monday, will face immediate suspension and the inability to participate in Commencement based on the president’s authority in cases of threats to community safety. In addition to being referred to the Office of Community Standards conduct process, they may also be subject to criminal charges.

Update, May 13, 2024: At this time of continued debate and discord over events in the Middle East, the university’s foremost goal continues to be providing for the physical safety of our community, while also seeking to ensure freedom of expression and an environment where all students are able to participate fully in campus life.

On Sunday afternoon, May 12, rallies organized by two different groups occurred at White Plaza. A pro-Israel group marched from the Oval to a rally at White Plaza, while others rallied near the pro-Palestinian encampment in another area of White Plaza. There were a number of participants from outside our campus community. While most of them participated peacefully in the main activities of the respective groups, some participants chose to face off across the bike path on White Plaza.

We are grateful to the Department of Public Safety, university staff, and private security staff who worked to preserve physical space between the groups and to prevent any physical altercations from occurring. These staff members, who were there to provide for the safety of our community, were undeservedly the target of verbal threats, insults, and provocations. Much of this abuse came from people outside of our community. This behavior is unacceptable and beneath everyone, including those who are visitors to our campus. As we have stated in the past, those who do not abide by university policies or who incite physical altercations may be subject to civil and criminal liability.

Organizers of the pro-Israel rally had told university staff in advance that they would leave White Plaza at approximately 3:30 p.m. to return to the Oval, and they were asked to stick to that timing given some of the increasingly heated provocations that were occurring in the area between the two rallies. Many other university events occurred elsewhere on campus yesterday and were not disrupted by the activities on White Plaza.

In a time of many disagreements, Stanford continues to emphasize the importance of critical inquiry and constructive engagement across disagreement, which are fundamental to the work of the university and to the life of our Stanford community. While we deplore some of the conduct yesterday, we remain encouraged by the much larger number of students who are engaged constructively on the issues of the day and have worked to de-escalate tensions during protests and other community events.

Update, May 7, 2024: The president and provost sent this further update to Stanford students.

Update, April 30, 2024: This post provides an update from Stanford University about the encampment recently set up on Stanford’s White Plaza. It follows the message sent to students by the president and provost last Friday, April 26. Additional updates will be posted to this page as needed.

Stanford welcomes and encourages the peaceful expression of free speech by members of our Stanford community. Students have been pursuing many opportunities to do so over the course of this year, in a variety of ways. Among other options, student groups are welcome to engage in advocacy on White Plaza in a manner consistent with campus policies. There is a process for registering to do so, in order to allow for equitable access to this space by members of our community.

Alongside its support for the peaceful expression of free speech, the university has viewpoint-neutral time, place, and manner policies. Among these are policies regarding the use of White Plaza, prohibiting overnight camping, and prohibiting the disruption of classes and university events.

With respect to the encampment on White Plaza, the university is continuing to submit names of students who are violating campus policies to the Office of Community Standards (OCS) for disciplinary proceedings. This is being done in a viewpoint-neutral manner and based on evidence of students’ conduct in violation of university policy. Students who are involved will have the opportunity to provide a defense to OCS.

Stanford also is concerned about the involvement of non-student outsiders in these activities on our campus. We continue to remind visitors that their participation in activities that violate university policy may subject them to criminal and/or civil liability.

We have received many expressions of concern about a photo circulating on social media of an individual on White Plaza who appeared to be wearing a green headband similar to those worn by members of Hamas. We find this deeply disturbing, as Hamas is designated a terrorist organization by the United States government. We have not been able to identify the individual but have forwarded the photo to the FBI.

As it has throughout the last months, Stanford is working to manage these issues in a deliberate manner that supports the safety of our students and of our campus community. As our students work toward the completion of their studies this spring quarter, and many look forward to graduation in June, we intend to continue working to support peaceful expression, to support the rules that govern our campus, and to support a safe environment for all.

Update, April 26, 2024: A message to students from the president and provost regarding activity in White Plaza.

Update, April 24, 2024: Reminder to students of campus policies from the interim vice provost for student affairs.