Following several student petitions, Penn has suspended University operations and cancelled class on Thursday because of the city-wide parade for the Philadelphia Eagles.
At the parade, the Super Bowl champions will be honored with a ticker-tape parade and a ceremony on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Mayor Jim Kenney said. Attendance is predicted to be even greater than that of 2008’s Phillies World Series victory parade, and up to 3 million people are expected to show.
On Monday, Feb. 5, University spokesperson Stephen MacCarthy wrote in an emailed statement that the University "will be open for normal operations" during the parade, prompting several student petitions calling for the University to change its decision.
Within a day, a petition launched by Wharton freshman Matthew Daniels had gathered over 4,000 signatures. The petition urged the Penn administration to consider cancelling classes on Thursday, citing the day's parade as a chance for Philly to come together "in a year of political and social unrest where the fabric of what binds us together is being tested daily."
The Daily Pennsylvanian editorial board also penned an appeal for the University to suspend operations at 2 p.m. on Feb. 6, writing that the failure to do so would strip the Penn community — students, faculty, and staff alike — from being part of a historic celebration in Philadelphia.
Hours later, Penn released a statement indicating a change of plans.
“The City of Philadelphia is expecting millions of people to attend this Thursday’s parade to celebrate the Philadelphia Eagles historic Super Bowl victory,” according to the Public Safety email. “This event will come with significant logistical and transportation challenges that will impact our entire community.”
The Penn community was notified via email and text message today at around 5:40 p.m. on Tuesday of the University's suspension of operations. The City of Philadelphia also announced it would operate on a modified schedule on Feb. 8 because of the parade.
Prior to Penn's announcement, Drexel University, Temple University, the University of the Arts, and Philadelphia public schools all announced they would suspend operations in light of the celebration.
As of Tuesday morning, SEPTA announced changes in its operations for Thursday. Through a partnership with Independence Blue Cross, SEPTA will be offering free rides on specific lines during the parade, and Regional Rail's schedule will be limited as well.
The parade comes four days after Philadelphia Eagles' historic win against the New England Patriots on Sunday. Euphoria, celebration, and even chaos broke across Center City and throughout campus as the Eagles claimed their first victory to a Super Bowl title.