University of Pennsylvania Begins Protest Crackdown

( – The University of Pennsylvania is cracking down on students participating in the Gaza Solidarity Encampment at the school.

The crackdown is a result of University of Pennsylvania students, similar to some students, faculty, and staff across the country, taking part in pro-Palestinian protests and setting up encampments on college campuses to protest Israel’s war with Hamas.

Students have been told by the college that their actions are a “violation of the University’s policies,” according to a spokesperson for the University. On April 26th, Penn’s interim President, J. Larry Jameson, ordered the protesters to immediately disband the encampment due to the violations of Penn’s policies.

Despite the order, the students are demanding that the school divest from businesses linked to Israel, disclose any financial investments the school has in Israel, and protect the protesters before they agree to disband the camp. Some of the protesters met with Jameson on April 30th, in an attempt to reach an agreement, as some faculty are concerned about final exams, which run through May 14th.

As concern grows about those not connected to Penn joining the protest, Penn staff are now checking IDs at the encampment on College Green “in accordance with Penn’s Open Expression Guidelines.”

As part of the crackdown, at least three students are facing disciplinary action, receiving notices for a disciplinary hearing from the Center for Community Standards and Accountability for their roles in organizing the encampment and the Freedom School for Palestine. The disciplinary hearings are scheduled for May 2nd. According to the University spokesperson, any faculty and staff found to be violating the policies “will follow the relevant disciplinary processes.”

While some faculty groups called for the encampment to remain and the threat of disciplinary action for student and faculty protesters to be revoked, another group of concerned Penn students, faculty, alumni, and staff plan to deliver a petition to Jameson’s office on May 2nd that calls for Penn to remove the encampment. The petition has over 1,800 signatures.

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