On Monday, 375 students and faculty members rallied in front of the Office of the President and the Provost. Since then, between 80 and 100 students have been sitting in, camped in tents surrounding the building. Three dozen faculty have expressed their support by holding classes and teach-ins alongside our camp, furthering the call of hundreds of professors who have already called, twice, for full fossil fuel divestment in letters published this year. Yesterday, 30 alumni traveled to campus to rally alongside the student body for divestment.
For three years, the Stanford community has been reiterating our support for full fossil fuel divestment through resolutions passed by the ASSU senate, the Graduate Student Council and the student body at large. This week, the Stanford community did so again by bringing our collective call to the offices of our President and Provost. We have proven that Stanford is ready for comprehensive divestment. We have shown our dedication. We have shown that we are not going away.
Last night, University officials delivered us a second official notice, which in part stated, “The University is considering suspending Fossil Free’s request to APIRL until they are in compliance with University policies.” By threatening to suspend our request to APIRL, the administration is not penalizing us — for us, this process has been stalled for nearly a year. Rather, by their threat the administration is condemning all of the people on the front lines of climate change and pollution, who face injustices perpetuated by the oil and gas industry every day. In their threat, the administration has made clear its failure to recognize the moral imperative to do everything Stanford can to address the injustices of climate change by divesting from the companies causing the crisis. We are not asking Stanford to divest for us. We are asking Stanford to divest for our world and for our future.
The University’s notice also warned that we are “violating University policies about use of the Main Quad” as well as “the Policy on Campus Disruptions,” and that they “will be filing Fundamental Standard charges” against us if we remain in the Quad past 5 p.m. Friday.
Today, Fossil Free is drawing a close to a powerful week of direct action. Over the course of the last five days, hundreds of people — faculty, staff, students and alumni — have engaged in education and solidarity. Now, we are heading home to spend time with our families.
We are leaving on our own terms, but to the University’s notice, we have this to say:
The Fundamental Standard binds all members of the Stanford community to “show… such respect for order, morality, personal honor and the rights of others as is demanded of good citizens.” As students whose education and ethics are at odds with the position of their administration, this is a matter of morality. We will never apologize for demanding that our administration consider ethics over profits and pay heed to international scientific consensus. It would be a violation of the Fundamental Standard to do so, and it is unquestionably a violation of the Fundamental Standard to threaten students with sanctions for challenging corporate complacency.
If President Hennessy is willing to appropriate Stanford’s code of ethical conduct to avoid action, we are willing to accept the consequences of our own. If we will have earned a charge under the Fundamental Standard at 5 p.m., we have earned it already. Come charge us at 11 a.m. in our encampment. We are not just Fossil Free Stanford. We are Stanford. And we are not going away.
-Fossil Free Stanford
Contact penuelas ‘at’ stanford.edu.