Axios Philadelphia

Newsletter branding image

Friday funday!

📍 Situational awareness: The U.S. Department of Education is investigating the Philly school district after parents complained about alleged acts of antisemitism.

Today's newsletter is 883 words, a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Police arrest Penn protesters

Tents take over part of University of Pennsylvania's College Green in late April. Photo: Mike D'Onofrio/Axios

Police in riot gear started clearing the pro-Palestinian encampment and arresting protesters at the University of Pennsylvania this morning.

The big picture: Intensifying student-led protests over the war in Gaza have led university administrations across the country to crack down on demonstrators in unprecedented ways — prompting arrests, suspensions and canceled commencements.

Driving the news: Officers have taken several people into custody after telling protesters at about 6am to disperse from the area, The Daily Pennsylvanian and 6ABC report.

  • Protesters have refused to leave until the university meets their demands, which include that Penn divest from businesses that have financial ties to Israel.
  • Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel is at the scene, per 6ABC.

This comes after the university temporarily banned six students from school grounds yesterday in response to the encampment on College Green.

  • Those students can't enter Penn buildings or be on campus — unless they're seeking health care services with an appointment, a university spokesperson tells Axios.
  • That also prevents them from taking part in university-related activities, like graduation and senior-week events.

Zoom out: Gov. Josh Shapiro, a nonvoting member of Penn's board of trustees, called for the encampment to end yesterday, saying it had grown "unstable and out of control," per the New York Times.

Meanwhile, Penn plans to beef up security for its May 20 commencement, administrators said in a statement yesterday.

What we're watching: The police response is developing. Check back for more details.

2. Philly's Pelé

Cavan craze is coming to Philly. Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

A 14-year-old soccer phenom is looking to cut his teeth in Philadelphia before potentially heading to the Premier League.

Why it matters: Cavan Sullivan yesterday signed the largest homegrown contract in MLS history to play for the Philadelphia Union, an organization he's grown up with and with whom his family has deep connections.

State of play: While specific terms of the deal weren't disclosed, Sullivan's agreement calls for him to spend the next four years with the Union before joining the English Premier League's Manchester City, considered by many the world's best club.

  • Man City is expected to shell out up to $5 million for Sullivan when he arrives, per the Inquirer.

The intrigue: The dynamic playmaker hasn't yet made his MLS debut — sweating it out with the Union's reserve squad.

  • If he plays before July 29, Sullivan will become the youngest to appear in MLS, surpassing Freddy Adu (once billed "America's Pelé"), per ABC News.
  • Sullivan's debut is expected soon, though the team hasn't shared a date.

Zoom in: Soccer is seemingly a birthright for the Sullivans. The young phenom's parents, Brendan and Heike, played for UPenn men's and women's soccer teams in the 1990s.

  • Sullivan's older brother, Quinn, is a Union midfielder, and his younger brothers are in the team's youth academy, per the Inquirer.

What they're saying: "This is the best city in my eyes," Sullivan, whose family has lived for generations in Bridesburg, told the Inquirer. "I wouldn't want to start anywhere else."

Share with a soccer fan

3. News Market: New Starbucks coming

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

☕ Starbucks signed a lease for a new space along Fishtown's hip Frankford Avenue corridor, reviving a 2019 push to open a site there. (Philadelphia Business Journal)

⚖️ Gov. Shapiro will sign legislation to criminalize the misuse of the powerful animal tranquilizer xylazine, which has spread in Philadelphia's heroin supply. (KYW)

🏆 SkyHigh restaurant in Philly ranked No. 38 on People's "50 Most Beautiful Restaurants in America" list. The restaurant is perched on the 60th floor of Comcast Technology Center.

4. 📷 Lens of the future

Student Andre Geffen's photo of the Philly skyline behind a gate and "Do Not Enter" sign. Photo: Courtesy of the Weitzman

Dozens of Central High School students put their lens on democracy as the U.S. deals with deepening divisions over important social issues.

Why it matters: The art installation at the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History includes photographs or photo essays from 60 students, some of whom are immigrants.

Driving the news: The exhibit, on display through Sunday, is part of a broader project inspired by PBS program "American Creed: Citizen Power," following two Stanford professors who round up young leaders as they explore existential threats to their communities.

Zoom in: Students' submissions were answering the question: Where do they see their views on the "intersection of citizenship, community and care in their lives?"

  • The photo essays explore intimate family moments, the struggles of members of the LGBTQ+ community and the perspective of outsiders.

Read what they're saying

Sponsored event listings

Things to do

📅 Upcoming events around the city.

GACC Philadelphia Annual Spargelfest 2024 at Brauhaus Schmitz on May 23: From 6:00-9:00pm enjoy Germany's beloved white asparagus with us! A fabulous four-course dinner as well as German wine and beer is included. You can show off your asparagus-handling skills during our peeling contest and win fun prizes.

Hosting an event? Email [email protected].

5. 🏀 Swag surfin' for Sixers stories

"Sir Charles" rebounds and regales strangers with tales. Photo: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

From the "Round Mound of Rebound" to a chance run-in with Ben Simmons, readers told us about memorable encounters they had with former and current Sixers superstars.

  • We've condensed their stories for clarity:

Jeff G. used news reports to reverse engineer the night he ran into much-maligned Simmons inside a nightclub.

  • Simmons played sparingly at that night's game because of back tightness.

Allegedly, Simmons stuck around the club for about a half-hour, but Jeff says it was still an "indictment" of his work ethic since he should've spent "the night in the training room."

In the 80s, Chris M. ran into Sir Charles Barkley in a fitness center sauna in Bala Cynwyd.

  • Chris says the "Mount Round of Rebound" eagerly chatted up random strangers — an experience shared by his mailman friend who once offered a "slam dunk" as he delivered mail into Barkley's mailbox, prompting "a big laugh from Charles."

Read about Kelley W.'s "twin injury"

🎵 Isaac wants readers to email him their favorite Friday songs.

❤️ Mike is giving a shoutout to his wife, his mom and all the moms out there for Mother's Day! Thank you for everything you do.

Today's newsletter was edited by Alexa Mencia and copy edited by Steven Patrick.