The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Credit: Anna Vazhaeparambil

Interim President Larry Jameson released a statement saying that the pro-Palestinian encampment on College Green constitutes “blatant violations of University policies.”

In the email to the Penn community, Jameson said that the University has been closely monitoring the protest over the past 24 hours. He wrote that the encampment violates Penn’s facilities policies and that there have been “credible reports of harassing and intimidating conduct.” Protesters have been notified of their violations and will face sanctions if they do not disband immediately.

A University spokesperson declined to comment. 

Jameson listed several violations, including reported and documented “harassing and intimidating comments and actions by some of the protesters.” He wrote that this alleged harassment violates Penn’s open expression guidelines and state and federal law, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

He pointed to vandalism of the statue in front of College Hall with “antisemitic graffiti” as an example, writing that it was “especially reprehensible” and will be investigated as a hate crime.

Jameson was referencing an incident that occurred at the encampment around 2:15 p.m. today, when a protester spray painted the words “Zios get fuckt” on the Benjamin Franklin statue. An organizer with the encampment quickly covered the paint with a keffiyah scarf and duct tape. 

“Whoever did that, please do not do that guys,” the organizer told the crowd.

Shortly before 4 p.m., Penn employees sprayed down the statue and its surrounding area with a power washer, while another scrubbed spray paint off the side.

“All members of our community deserve to access our facilities without fear of harassment or being subjected to discriminatory comments or threats,” Jameson wrote.

Jameson also acknowledged that Penn’s academic mission was guided by “fundamental commitments to upholding freedom of inquiry and open expression” in the email. 

“As we have repeatedly emphasized, we will uphold free speech and the productive exchange of ideas, but we will not allow any actions that harass, threaten, or intimidate others,” Jameson wrote. “We have also said that the safety of our community is paramount, and we will live up to our commitment.”

Earlier today, a Jewish Student Advisory Group met with Penn administrators. Before the meeting, the group released a survey "to measure the impact of the hostility of the encampment on Jewish student life," asking students to report intimidation, threats, or difficulties completing schoolwork. In under an hour, the survey received harassment accounts related to the encampment from over 100 Penn students, a source familiar told The Daily Pennsylvanian.

The meeting with administration followed a statement to the Penn community sent earlier this morning in which Jameson outlined what would prompt a response to the encampment by the University. The  message suggested that Penn would consider action against the encampment if it had evidence of "threatening or violent behaviors." 

In his initial email, Jameson wrote that Penn "will not stand by" if "protected protest and speech deteriorate into words and actions that  violate Penn’s policies, disrupt University business, or contribute to  an intimidating or hostile environment on our campus.”