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Jewish UPenn students say school is ‘helpless’ in the face of anti-Israel protesters

Jewish students at the University of Pennsylvania on Monday called school leaders “helpless” after anti-Israel protesters ignored the administration’s order to disband their encampment on campus.

The Ivy League school’s interim president, J. Larry Jameson, warned in an email to the school community Friday that failure to clean up the tent city “immediately” would result in sanctions, but protesters are remained on the university’s College Green Monday evening.

The scene unfolding at UPenn is reminiscent of the chaos at Columbia University, where anti-Israel protesters rejected the Manhattan school’s request to vacate their encampment.

Protesters at UPenn, made up of students, faculty and people unaffiliated with the school, also objected to the requirement to show school ID cards. An anti-Israel group celebrated that no arrests had been made since the school made the demands.

UPenn’s encampment has been on campus since last week. Abraham Franchetti

“Thanks to our collective will and strength, we were able to call the administration’s bluff, resist the panic it was planning to set in and win this first battle,” the Faculty of Justice wrote on Instagram on Monday from UPenn in Palestine.

Jewish student Abraham Franchetti told the Post that school leaders took no action after issuing warnings. He said the encampment that emerged last Thursday was “incredibly frightening” for Jewish students, while also disrupting school activities.

“The school just posted trespassing notices that were largely ignored,” the sophomore said. “The university seems powerless to do anything. »

Another Jewish student, who wished to remain anonymous, echoed this sentiment.

“I think the university made the right decision in saying the encampment had to go. The problem is that they have done nothing to actually enforce this policy, which I think shows a certain level of cowardice and a lack of conviction in their statements,” the student said.

The protest is made up of professors, students and people not connected to the school. Abraham Franchetti

A UPenn spokesperson told the Post that Jameson, along with Provost John L. Jackson Jr., met with students and staff protesting Saturday evening to hear their concerns.

“They reiterated to protesters the importance of complying with Penn’s policies, which aim to support open expression, while ensuring the safety of everyone on our campus,” the spokespersons said in highlighting the policy. identification.

In Friday’s memo, school leaders said some protesters made “harassing and intimidating comments and actions” and that a statue was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti, which will be considered a hate crime.

The encampment was ordered to be disbanded Friday, but it remains. Submitted

“As we have repeatedly emphasized, we will defend free speech and the productive exchange of ideas, but we will not authorize any actions that harass, threaten or intimidate others,” the school said.

UPenn is one of dozens of universities and colleges that have faced persistent anti-Israel encampments sparked by Columbia’s mini tent city earlier this month. The agitators remained there despite school directives to close shop.

Some campus tent cities have resulted in clashes with police, including at the University of Texas at Austin, where police in riot gear arrested protesters on Monday. Officers used pepper spray on protesters who tried to block a police van containing arrested people as it left campus, according to an Associated Press report.

“No encampments will be allowed,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said on X. “Instead, arrests are being made.”

New York Post

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