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Stanford Sit-In For Fossil Fuel Divestment Enters 2nd Day

STANFORD (CBS SF) – A sit-in by students calling for Stanford University's divestment from the fossil fuel industry has continued for a second day.

More than 100 students have assembled at the college's main quad outside university president John Hennessy's office since Monday afternoon.

Fossil Free Stanford, a student organization, led the sit-in and is calling for the university to divest from the fossil fuel industry, according to organizer Michael Peñuelas.

Peñuelas, 22, who is working on his master's degree in environmental policy and management, said the university divested from coal last year and now the group is looking for "comprehensive divestment" from fossil fuels including oil and gas.

The group doesn't want their education to be funded by profits in the fossil fuel industry, he said.

Santa Clara County sheriff's deputies, who staff the campus's Department of Public Safety, have been patrolling around the sit-in and are monitoring the group, university spokeswoman Lisa Lapin said.

Lapin did not know of any plans by the university to address the students' requests.

On Monday, Stanford's dean of students Chris Griffith went to the quad with deputies to warn students that they are violating the university's main quad usage policy and may face trespassing charges, Peñuelas said.

Students set up tents and sleeping bags at the quad, where they slept overnight, Peñuelas said.

Other student groups have coordinated to provide meals for the protesters, according to Peñuelas.

Fossil Free Stanford is holding teach-ins on environmental issues at the quad and reaching out to the university's board of trustees through social media to address the divestment issue, Peñuelas said.

The students are asking the university to divest from the fossil fuel companies before the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference in Paris later this month.

Fossil Free Stanford has been working with the university's Advisory Panel on Investment Responsibility and Licensing, which can recommend the board of trustees to follow through on the divestment, student organizers said.

Peñuelas said he suspects the university has been stalling on their decision and is not bargaining with them in good faith.

He acknowledged the university has to thoroughly research the companies before they make a decision, but said the delay will result in more costs to the communities impacted by the fossil fuel industry for their inaction.

© Copyright 2015 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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