Stanford forwards encampment photo with Hamas headband to FBI

Unidentified individual wore a green headband also worn by Hamas combatants

April 30, 2024, 11:44 p.m.

Amid unrest on college campuses across the country, Stanford reiterated that student protestors camping overnight in White Plaza are violating campus policies and may face suspension. A photo of an unidentified individual at the encampment, who wore a green headband resembling ones worn by Hamas combatants, was submitted to federal authorities, according to a Tuesday update from the University.

Pro-Palestine students established an encampment in White Plaza over Stanford’s Admit Weekend, as protests and arrests escalate on college campuses nationwide. The encampment, which was established across from the historic 120-day sit-in previously in White Plaza, violates the University’s overnight camping policies, wrote President Richard Saller and Provost Jenny Martinez in an April 30 update.

While they encouraged peaceful free speech, Saller and Martinez wrote that the University continues to refer students to the Office of Community Standards (OCS) for disciplinary proceedings. White Plaza is a free speech zone, but University policies limit protest to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Policies also require students to register before engaging in advocacy to “allow for equitable access to this space.” 

Protestors rallied over the weekend to support students who received OCS letters despite not being present at the encampment. According to an Instagram post from Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine, the University referred students to OCS who were involved in previous pro-Palestine demonstrations. Some students were not on campus when the encampment was established, organizers said.

“Stanford is actively discriminating against Palestinian, Arab, Muslim and anti-Zionist Jewish students using their internal disciplinary process,” they wrote on social media.

According to today’s email, disciplinary referrals occurred “in a viewpoint-neutral manner and based on evidence of students’ conduct in violation of university policy.” Students would receive an opportunity to provide a defense to OCS, Saller and Martinez wrote.

The University reiterated protest policies to students and stressed that participants external to the Stanford community could face civil or criminal liability for policy violations.

The update to students comes as Columbia, which closed its campus and moved to online classes earlier this week, also suspended and expelled several students. An encampment formed in solidarity with Gaza was disassembled by Columbia personnel tonight, and New York Police Department officers cleared protestors from Hamilton Hall, which demonstrators occupied Tuesday morning. 

Arrests have also occurred at several other college campuses this week, with several clashes between protestors and police in riot gear. The University of Southern California canceled commencement ceremonies last week, following controversy over the refusal to allow a valedictorian speech from a pro-Palestine student due to safety concerns.

Administrators also forwarded to federal authorities a photo of an unidentified individual at the encampment, who appeared to wear a green headband also worn by Hamas militants. “We find this deeply disturbing, as Hamas is designated a terrorist organization by the United States government,” Saller and Martinez wrote. 

An April 29 open letter to administrators called on Stanford to respond more decisively to the encampment and criticized a perceived ambivalence to “the newest antisemitic encampment.” Over 20,000 individuals signed on to the letter, which called for increased disciplinary and legal action.

The letter linked the photo with an individual in a green headband and wrote that “the encampment is now harboring individuals who are uniformed as Hamas combatants.” Authors called on the University to respond swiftly and harshly to individuals with the headbands, since “no citizen should have to worry about distinguishing between individuals merely dressed as terrorists and true terrorists who seek to deal us serious bodily harm.”

Per the letter, Saller previously committed to Jewish students on March 15 that the police citations of 18 pro-Palestine students who disrupted a Family Weekend event “would be the new protocol for handling interruptions of campus events which violate time, place, and manner restrictions.” 

The letter, which was organized by Jewish students on campus, encourages Stanford to follow a precedent set by other colleges by “arresting and disciplining malicious student and non-student agitators.” Several hundred police officers entered Columbia University on Tuesday to remove and arrest student protestors from Hamilton Hall.

Administrators wrote in the April 30 message to students and community members that as graduation approaches, they “intend to continue working to support peaceful expression, to support the rules that govern our campus, and to support a safe environment for all.”

Kaushikee Nayudu '24 is The Daily's Editor in Chief. Contact her at knayudu ‘at’ Zhu '24 is the executive editor for Vol. 264 and 265 and was formerly head copy editor and a desk editor for news. She studies international relations, human rights and French, and can probably be found at CoHo with a quad espresso.

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