University of Pennsylvania announces increased security for upcoming commencement

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Friday, May 10, 2024
University of Pennsylvania announces increased security for upcoming commencement
University of Pennsylvania announces increased security for upcoming commencement

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The University of Pennsylvania has announced increased security measures for commencement later this month as a pro-Palestinian encampment continues.

Penn officials say there will be a "high level of security" at all Franklin Field gates and on the field inside the stadium for the May 20 graduation ceremony.

All graduates and guests will also have to clear airport-style security screening. Officials warn this will slow entry into the venue and urge attendees to plan accordingly.

Gates will open at 8 a.m. and the ceremony will begin at 10:15 a.m.

Graduates will be required to show their Penn ID to access the field.

For a full list of safety protocols, visit this page at

Penn officials went on to say this is an evolving situation and safety procedures could change.

The protestors are demanding that Penn disclose its investments and cut ties with businesses that support Israel.

The encampment swelled as activity by protesters picked up overnight into Thursday morning.

Penn police have maintained a presence there, as have Philadelphia police following Penn's request to the city for resources.

Police vans arrived Wednesday night and were stationed near the quad.

The statue of Ben Franklin was, once again, was covered and defaced, but by Thursday morning crews were able to clean up the statue.

The protesters are demanding that Penn disclose its investments, and cuts ties with businesses that support Israel.

Penn's interim president said earlier this week the university already met with protesters twice and continue to propose additional meetings.

He says the encampment should end and continues to say it is in violation of university policies, disrupting campus operations and events.

A Penn undergraduate speaking for the encampment said they want the school to stop taking disciplinary action against protesting students.

"There were 12 given disciplinary action and now six are receiving suspensions," he said. One student is allegedly facing an eviction from campus.

Penn said six student protesters were placed on mandatory temporary leaves of absence, saying in a statement Thursday, "Today, the University issued mandatory temporary leaves of absence for six students in accordance with our policies and pending the results of the Center for Community Standards and Accountability disciplinary investigations. These actions are a result of the University's continuing response to the unauthorized encampment on College Green."

While giving remarks during an event in Westmoreland County on Thursday, Governor Josh Shapiro called the situation at Penn "unstable" and "unacceptable."

"Over the last 24 hours at the University of Pennsylvania, the situation has gotten even more unstable and out of control, more rules have been violated," said Shapiro. "All students should feel safe when they're on campus. All students have a legal right to feel safe on campus, and the University of Pennsylvania has an obligation to their safety. It is past time for the university to act, to address this to disband the encampment and to restore order and safety on campus."

Penn's interim president says pro-Palestinian encampment is 'causing fear for many'

Standoffs between police and protesters at other college campuses continue to turn more confrontational, and even violent.

There were dozens of arrests at George Washington University in D.C. on Wednesday, and a tent encampment was cleared at the University of Chicago earlier this week.

Police also moved in Tuesday night to break up an encampment at the University of Massachusetts.

Since April 18, about 2,800 people have reportedly been arrested on 50 campuses.