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Students associated with the Freedom School for Palestine participate in a demonstration held at Houston Hall on Feb. 18. 

Credit: Chenyao Liu

Students from the Freedom School for Palestine are facing disciplinary action as a result of their participation in a Feb. 19 study-in at Van Pelt Library. 

According to a Feb. 27 press release, five students received a memo that their involvement in the study-in was grounds for "disciplinary proceedings" due to violations of the University's Code of Student Conduct and the Guidelines on Open Expression. The students were not required to hand over identification. The Daily Pennsylvanian could not confirm how they were identified for disciplinary action. 

In a previously written statement to the DP, the Freedom School stated that they were "exercising [their] privilege and rights to free speech to raise awareness about the ongoing genocide in Gaza." They wrote that this study-in was to specifically address what they called "educide" — a term referring to Israel's alleged targeted attacks on academic and intellectual figures in Gaza.  

[Members] of the Freedom School have received constant threats and disciplinary consequences from University officials since their founding on campus in November of last year, according to the press release. 

The study-in was attended by about 15 protestors affiliated with the Freedom School for Palestine. They arrived at the Moelis Reading Room at 10 a.m. and filled one table, hanging up posters and banners on the table and on surrounding windows. Penn Police entered around 11 a.m. and required that protestors remove any signage, which they complied with. 

Penn representatives asked the demonstrators to leave the Moelis Reading Room at 7 p.m., prompting the group to move to the basement — before finally relocating to Houston Hall around 7:30 p.m. after a representative from Penn's University Life division asked them to leave the library entirely. 

As the participants had followed directives from University representatives, they were not required to hand over any pieces of identification. According to the press release, non-uniformed police officers remained in the library after their initial run-in with University Life to watch protestors.

College senior Taja Mazaj wrote that she, along with the Freedom School at large, had no plans on stopping their advocacy as a result of the disciplinary action notices. 

"Penn says they believe in free speech, but they make us criminals for speaking. To the Penn administration, our speech is nothing more than noise which taints the image the University wishes to project to its billionaire donors," Mazaj wrote. "I have received numerous disciplinary warnings from Penn, but I plan to continue standing and speaking with my fellow students, and our peers in Palestine, until Palestine is free." 

At the time of publication, neither the Vice Provost for University Life or the Division of Public Safety have responded to a request for comment.