Apr 26, 2024 - News

Pro-Palestinian encampment at Penn resist order to disband

A pro-Palestinian protest at the University of Pennsylvania

Pro-Palestinian students and faculty of Drexel University, Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania set up an encampment yesterday on Penn's campus. Photo: Matthew Hatcher / AFP via Getty

Philly college students protesting the war in Gaza are defying an order to disband their encampment at the University of Pennsylvania.

Why it matters: University administrations across the U.S. have cracked down on student demonstrators in unprecedented ways as protests grow in size and intensity, Axois' April Rubin and Kavya Beheraj write.

State of play: Organizers for the Gaza Solidarity Encampment at Penn said Saturday in a social media post that they will maintain their encampment on the university's College Green until their handful of demands are met.

  • Those demands include the university divesting from businesses that have financial ties to Israel and those that are supporting the war in Gaza, and allowing the protests to continue.

Meanwhile, top Penn officials ordered demonstrators to remove the encampment for safety and security reasons Friday night, per a released statement.

  • Interim Penn President J. Larry Jameson and other school officials said in the statement the encampment violates university policies and cited reports of "harassing and intimidating conduct."

The big picture: Hundreds of people have participated in pro-Palestinian protests on more than 12 college campuses across the U.S. in just over a week.

Zoom in: Protesters at Penn said they met with school administrators on Saturday, where they reiterated their demands.

  • The protesting group, which set up the encampment on Thursday, is a coalition of students from Penn and other area universities, as well as faculty and community members, per a statement from the group.

What they're saying: "We are disappointed to hear that administrators viewed our demands as unreasonable," the Penn protest group said in a social media post.

  • Penn officials said in a Friday statement they will "uphold free speech and the productive exchange of ideas, but we will not allow any actions that harass, threaten, or intimidate others."

What we're watching: How Penn administrators will continue to handle the protesters.

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