Stanford’s recent history of protests and student activism

May 23, 2014, 2:45 a.m.

Stanford has a long and colorful history of student activism, with students protesting incidents ranging from the Rodney King beating in 1992 to a bicycle ban in the Main Quad in 2006. Protests in recent years at Stanford have centered around LGBTQ rights, Stanford worker pay and equal opportunity issues, especially for custodial staff.

Here are some notable activist events in Stanford’s recent history:

  • On April 7, 2002, close to 1,000 students, staff and workers protested Stanford’s treatment of University workers and their comparative pay. The demonstrators marched from Memorial Auditorium, down Palm Drive and into the courtyard of the Littlefield Graduate School of Business building, which housed the Stanford Graduate School of Business at the time.
  • On March 3, 2003, approximately 1,000 students rallied against a preemptive war in Iraq, as a part of the “Books, Not Bombs” movement against such military action. The movement garnered significant faculty support, with many faculty members cancelling lectures and other academic events.
  • On May 28, 2003, about 100 workers and students gathered outside of President Hennessy’s office at Building 10 in the Main Quad to seek changes in the employment policies for staff of Stanford University.
  • On June 15, 2006, over 1,000 students, faculty and staff protested at a meeting between then-President George W. Bush and the Fellows of the Hoover Institution. The protest pushed the Presidential convoy off campus and forced a change in venue for the protest. Three students were arrested and charged with misdemeanors: failure to yield to an official vehicle in a restricted area and obstruction of police activity.

Contact Nitish Kulkarni at nitishk2 ‘at’ stanford ‘dot’ edu.

Nitish Kulkarni '16 is a senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering. He writes about technology and breaking news, and runs online content sections. Email him at nitishk2 'at'

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