Penn's Gaza protest encampment expands despite order to disband 2 weeks ago

There is also an investigation into vandalism at Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity at Temple University

Corey Davis Image
Thursday, May 9, 2024
Penn protest hits two weeks as campus tensions grow
The protestors are demanding that Penn disclose its investments and cut ties with businesses that support Israel.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Gaza Solidarity encampment at the University of Pennsylvania has now been in place for two weeks, despite orders from school officials to disband.

The encampment has tripled in size, with dozens of tents now set up on College Green.

Philadelphia police vans can now be seen parked along 34th and Walnut streets near the encampment. The vans are used to transport people who have been taken into custody, but as of Thursday morning, there is no activity to indicate that will happen.

So far, all is quiet with no timeline on whether the encampment at Penn would be cleared, like what's happening at other universities across the country.

Leaders of the Gaza Solidarity encampment held a press conference Tuesday, claiming university leaders are now refusing to meet with them and have resorted to intimidation and threats of disciplinary action against students.

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

Penn's interim president, Dr. Larry Jameson, wrote in a statement earlier this week they've already met with protestors twice and continue to propose additional meetings.

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

Standoffs between police and protestors at other college campuses continue to turn violent or become more confrontational.

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

Over at Temple University, officials confirmed with Action News that an investigation is underway after vandalism at the house of Jewish fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi.

Photos of the vandalism are circulating on social media showing the words, "Free Palestine" spray painted on the roof of the fraternity house.

Members said they went up there after noticing the Israeli flag they had up there was gone.

"I personally, as a Jewish person, it's not the first thing I want to see," said fraternity member Zachary Fajge. "I don't care what people's political views are on the whole conflict, but when you're going onto someone else's property vandalizing it, trespassing onto someone else's property that's when it becomes a whole nother issue."

Temple University officials said to Action News that vandalism and damaging property will not be tolerated and that the university emphasizes the value of respect for all people.