Stanford shuts down overnight sit-ins

Pro-Palestine and Pro-Israel protestors ordered to vacate Thursday night

Feb. 8, 2024, 5:05 p.m.

All demonstrations in White Plaza will be forced to cease overnight components “based on concerns for the physical safety of [the] community,” according to a letter to demonstration leaders from the Office of Student Affairs obtained by The Daily and a public statement from the University. The new policy will take effect Thursday evening at 8 p.m.

The demonstrations, which include the Sit-In to Stop Genocide, the Blue and White Tent and the newly-established Sit-In to Stop Islamophobia, have occupied White Plaza for nearly four months. 

The University mandated that “any tents, tables, chairs or other similar items” must be removed from White Plaza between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m., or else will be removed by the University “for health and safety reasons.”

Students who violate the policy may be referred to the Office of Community Standards (OCS) and can be cited for trespassing “for failing to comply with a university directive” according to the University statement.

The University statement clarified that tabling between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. will continue to be allowed as long as demonstrations follow Office of Student Engagement (OSE) event registration policies

The Sit-In to Stop Islamophobia, which set up chairs and signs in the “registered space of the Blue and White Tent group” after the group’s tent was knocked down by storms, was told to vacate the space in a Wednesday letter from Director of Operations and Student Unions Jeanette Smith-Laws. Smith-Laws also delivered the mandate to vacate White Plaza by 8 p.m. to demonstration organizers on Thursday. 

In a statement to The Daily, University spokesperson Dee Mostofi wrote that “Stanford’s commitment to supporting the free expression of views on White Plaza remains firmly in place” but that demonstrations are subject to “viewpoint-neutral time, place, and manner rules.” 

Camping is not allowed at the University without permission from the Office of the Provost or the Provost’s designee, according to the University’s “no camping” policy, but Stanford allowed overnight camping in White Plaza “since the events of October 7 out of a desire to support the peaceful expression of free speech.”

In response to the mandate, the Sit-In to Stop Genocide is holding an emergency mobilization tonight at 6:30 p.m. in anticipation of possible disciplinary actions, eviction or arrests. 

According to organizers of the Sit-In to Stop Islamophobia, the demonstration will comply with University mandates as long as the Blue and White Tent does so. 

“If and when the Blue and White Tent goes down, we will pack up and leave as well, and continue protesting against Islamophobia from 8 [a.m.] to 8 [p.m.],” organizers said in a statement to The Daily. “It is important to us to always be side by side the Blue and White Tent since they are actively engaged in disseminating misinformation and Islamophobic rhetoric.”

The Blue and White Tent began rebuilding today directly next to the new Sit-In to Stop Islamophobia. The space that both groups currently occupy is contested among the two. The Blue and White Tent cites a reservation made in November on CardinalEngage as “indefinite.” The University maintains the Blue and White Tent’s claim to the space and ordered the Sit-In to Stop Islamophobia to vacate yesterday. 

The Daily reached out to organizers of the Sit-In to Stop Genocide and the organizers of the Blue and White Tent for comment.

Caroline Chen '26 is a Vol. 265 News Managing Editor. She is from Chapel Hill, N.C. and enjoys vegetable farms and long walks. Contact cqchen 'at' Gohill ’27 is a news staff writer. He is from Santa Monica, CA and enjoys avocado toast and listening to Lorde. Contact him at dilan 'at'

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