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The University Council meeting on Wednesday ended in an open forum that involved a speech about divestment from fossil fuel. 

Credit: Luke Chen

President Amy Gutmann reinforced her support for Penn’s Muslim students at the University Council meeting on Wednesday.

“We will not tolerate any discrimination, intimidation or threats against any Muslims in our community,” she said. “That applies to all faiths, but I do single out Muslims because they are being singled out now.”

College sophomore Nayab Khan, representative for the UPenn Muslim Student Association, expressed her gratitude afterward.

“We really appreciate that we know that the University is here for us,” Khan said.

The bulk of the rest of the meeting focused on the University’s continued emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches and the “integration of knowledge.” Beth Winkelstein, vice provost for education, spotlighted dual degree initiatives and research opportunities that span the disciplines.

The meeting concluded with an open forum. College sophomore Rita Wegner gave a passionate speech on behalf of Fossil Free Penn, a group that has been urging the University to divest from the fossil fuel industry for three years.

“Penn continues to hypocritically fund these companies,” Wegner said, referencing initiatives like the Power Down Challenge as having insignificantly small reductions in emissions compared to the emissions that are being funded by the University’s investment in fossil fuels.

“We are running out of time, and it will take institutional power ... to combat one of the biggest issues facing humanity,” she said.

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