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Gov. Josh Shapiro and Sen. Bob Casey expressed support in the disbandment of the Gaza Solidarity Encampment.

Credit: Ryan Jones , Julia Van Lare

Two of Pennsylvania’s most high-profile politicians — Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro — praised Penn’s decision to disband the Gaza Solidarity Encampment this morning, while two local politicians who represent Penn expressed deep concern about the University's conduct.

Thirty-three individuals, nine of whom are Penn students, were arrested by Penn Police officers with the assistance of the Philadelphia Police Department during the sweep. The protesters were cited for trespassing and have since been released from a Philadelphia Police station.

Manuel Bonder, a spokesperson for Shapiro, wrote in a statement that Penn’s leadership “made the right decision” during Friday’s morning sweep.

“Unfortunately, the situation at Penn reached an untenable point – and as the University stated publicly, the encampment was in violation of university policy, campus was being disrupted, and threatening, discriminatory speech and behavior were increasing,” Bonder wrote.

Casey, at an event in Philadelphia, said that — while protesters had the right to oppose “actions taken by a government” — some protests, and the rhetoric in them, crossed a line.

“It’s a great American tradition to protest,” Casey said. “But at some point, when a protest begins to affect the ability of others to get to class, or in this case, with an impending graduation, it begins to infringe upon others' rights.”

In a press release, 2016 Fels Institute of Government graduate and Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker, Chief Public Safety Director Adam Geer, and City Solicitor Renee Garcia wrote they were “thankful” that the police’s action in clearing the encampment “occurred without violence.”

The statement also confirmed that Penn “requested general assistance” from the City of Philadelphia on May 1.

“From that day on, we were clear throughout that process that Philadelphia Police would provide backup assistance if arrests were made, or if the situation became dangerous or violent,” the statement wrote. “We were also clear that we expected Penn to explore every option to resolve this matter peacefully.”

In addition, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner confirmed earlier this morning that all 33 people arrested were given code violation notices, not criminal charges.

He declined to give further comment, citing a need to know if his information was “actually consistent” with the situation at hand. On a previous visit to the encampment, Krasner told The Daily Pennsylvanian that he had “been fed false information,” but declined to comment on the source of that information.

In a joint statement, Philadelphia City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier and Pennsylvania state Rep. Rick Krajewski (D-Philadelphia) said that they were “disappointed” by the University’s dismantling of the Gaza Solidarity Encampment and the involvement of riot police.

“From the start, we advocated for a negotiated, nonviolent resolution,” the statement wrote. “Sending a large militarized police force against students and faculty is an inappropriate and deeply concerning response.”

Gauthier and Krajewski, who are both Penn alumni and represent Penn in their respective levels of government, said they are “grateful” those arrested only received code violation notices, and urged the University to not further discipline students and faculty.

“Throughout time, Philadelphians have used peaceful protests to express their beliefs and fight for change, and we will always defend our constituents’ First Amendment rights,” the statement wrote.

In a statement on X — formerly Twitter — Krajewski also wrote that he was "extremely frustrated and shocked" at Penn's decision to “employ a militarized police force.”