Eleven Stanford University students were arrested at 4:30 p.m. today after occupying the lobby of Building 10 since 11:30 a.m. in a protest over university apparel made in overseas sweatshops.
The students were not told what they were being charged with, one of them told the Weekly via cell phone.
The students were told at 4:20 p.m. that they had five minutes to leave the building or they would be arrested, said Alan Acosta, director of university communications. He said the students chose to stay.
The students were taken to the university's Department of Public Safety where they were to be cited for trespassing and then released, Acosta said.
The students had initially occupied Stanford President John Hennessy's own office by using "a ruse" to gain entrance beyond the Building 10 lobby, said Jeff Wachtel, senior assistant to the president.
Hennessy was not on campus.
The administration "is in complete agreement with the students' objectives," Acosta said before the arrests were made.
"We can't wait to end sweatshops," senior Mark Liu declared. "Human rights are being violated every day."
The students initially occupied Hennessy's office but agreed to move to the building's lobby when asked to.
University officials allowed the small group of students to stay but kept about 100 other students outside. The students said they felt they had "hit a dead-end" in talks with the administration.
Wachtel said a meeting has been scheduled for next week between the students and Hennessy.
"Things move more slowly for students than they would like," Wachtel observed.
"It's important to know we've been meeting with the administration for three months," sophomore Bethany Woolman said of the occupation. She said they were trying to maintain a positive attitude.
"We're here to support the president to make the right decision," she said. "This institution has a lot of power to make a change in the world."
Plainclothes police officers were inside and outside of Building 10, not letting anyone inside during the afternoon.
About 100 students gathered outside Building 10 shortly after noon carrying banners and signs, one of which read, "Make Stanford apparel sweatshop-free."
Another read, "Don't dress to oppress." Two men wore no clothes at all.
The students are asking that Stanford join a "Worker Rights Consortium" that monitors sweatshop conditions. A reported 169 colleges and universities have already joined the consortium, including the entire University of California system. A second group also monitors sweatshop conditions, but students favor the consortium.
"The president is actively considering joining these groups," Acosta said. "We are in complete agreement with the students' objectives."
"The question is how best to achieve that," Wachtel added, referring to meeting the objectives.