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Stanford files felony charges against pro-Palestine protesters, brings back SAT

By Kenneth Schrupp
The Center Square

Just after felony charges were announced against pro-Palestine protesters, Stanford University declared applicants would be required to submit ACT or SAT scores for fall 2025 admission. 

Stanford filed felony burglary charges against the 13 protesters, including one Stanford Daily reporter, for barricading themselves in the university president and provost’s office building. Involved students, who had bail set at $20,000, are banned from the campus until June 12, and seniors will not be allowed to graduate. 

The protesters demanded the school’s divestment from Israel, financial disclosure from the 2022 fiscal year, and dropping disciplinary and criminal charges against all pro-Palestine students.

“Thirteen individuals were arrested inside Building 10 this morning. In addition to going through the law enforcement process, any arrested individuals who are students will be immediately suspended. Any who are seniors will not be allowed to graduate. These actions are necessary based on the public safety threat posed to our campus community,” wrote Stanford Interim President Richard Saller and Provost Jenny Martinez. 

Stanford also cleared out the school’s pro-Palestine demonstration site, saying, “The situation on campus has now crossed the line from peaceful protest to actions that threaten the safety of our community.”

Stanford had allowed the site to remain occupied since April, making the escalation to felony charges and site dispersal a quick turn of events. 

Sit-ins at the president’s office have a long history at Stanford, such as from the Vietnam War era. Stanford’s website hosts an exhibit on many such instances of activism, including 1980s South Africa divestment protestors occupying the president’s office. Stanford’s core mission statement is outlined in a vision centered on embedding “inclusion, civic engagement and a respect for robust discourse in education and residential life, preparing students for lives of active citizenship.” The school’s website even hosts a detailed archive of campus activism stretching back to 1891.

In 2021, Stanford’s board of trustees hosted a panel on student engagement, with its summary noting that “giving students ownership of creating social contract norms for discussion of controversial matters” can “help create more vibrant, candid and inclusive dialogue.” Stanford’s Title IX website also has a section describing “Activism as Healing” and “Activism as Empowerment.” 

Two days after the arrests, Stanford announced the return of standardized testing requirements for the fall 2025 class, claiming a faculty committee found “Performance on standardized tests is an important predictor of academic performance at Stanford.” Stanford joins other top institutions such as Harvard, Yale, Brown, MIT and Dartmouth in reinstituting standardized testing requirements.

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