Stanford officials issued a statement Monday outlining their plans to combat anti-semitism and Islamophobia at the university, as a group of students reach the three-week mark of a sit-in on campus calling for more support for Palestinian students.
Stanford leaders said in their statement Monday, Nov. 13 that they plan to establish two groups aimed at combating hatred and providing community members with support: One is a new subcommittee within their Jewish advisory committee to combat anti-semitism at the university. The other is a newly established Muslim, Arab and Palestinian communities committee, which will similarly combat Islamophobia and enhance Muslim, Arab and Palestinian students’ safety.
The announcement also comes on the heels of a hit-and-run that police are investigating as a hate crime, in which an Arab Muslim student at Stanford was targeted by an allegedly pro-Israel driver who yelled "F--- you and your people” after hitting the student.
The university's top administrators issued a statement after the incident condemning hate-based violence, stating they were “profoundly disturbed” to hear of the incident. But students involved with the sit-in criticized the university for the timing of its response to the incident, which they said came several hours too late.
Both the subcommittee on combating anti-semitism and the new Muslim, Arab and Palestinian communities committee will consist of faculty, staff, students, and alumni. The latter group will also provide recommendations on how to educate the Stanford community on Islamophobia, anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian bias. The former group will do the same type of education on anti-semitism.
The students involved with the sit-in issued several demands to university leaders, which Stanford’s latest statement only fulfills a portion of. They called for the university to provide resources for Palestinian students and commit to the boycott, divestment and sanction movement. They also called for the university to endorse an immediate ceasefire and form a committee to “correct the directives, faculty, and research initiatives contributing to subjugation of Palestinian people.”
The statement from the university also outlined steps that officials have taken recently to support students and bolster public safety, including a third-party review of campus safety, expanded resources like mental health services and reporting mechanisms for discrimination, and “informational resources” establishing the school’s stance against discrimination.
Hana Spahia, a student involved with the sit-in, told this publication last month that student organizers met with administrators on Oct. 26 to discuss their demands, but officials told them it would be difficult to address most of them except the demand to provide resources for Palestinian students.