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Six protestors were issued citations following a demonstration against Ghost Robotics inside the Towne Building. 

Credit: Abhiram Juvvadi

Penn Police issued trespass citations to six protesters during a demonstration that took place inside a campus building on Thursday afternoon, according to a University spokesperson.

In a statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian, the spokesperson wrote that around a dozen demonstrators entered the Towne Building, which is located in the Engineering Quad, at approximately 1:43 p.m. to “protest ‘Ghost Robotics’ and deliver a petition.”

“Members of the group began filming building staff, who asked them multiple times to leave the premises,” the spokesperson wrote. “Six individuals were subsequently stopped by Penn Police, issued citations for trespass, and released from the scene pending further investigation.”

Ghost Robotics is a company housed in Pennovation Works that develops and sells four-legged robots to be used for “data collection, intelligence, security, asset protection, and military-specific uses.”

In April, the DP reported that around 120 protesters called on Penn to cut ties with the company, alleging that they produce robotic dogs used by the Israeli military.

The spokesperson added that 15 minutes later, “8 masked members of the same group” entered the Facilities and Real Estate Services office at 31st and Walnut streets and began chanting. 

“The group was gone prior to police arrival,” the spokesperson wrote. 

In an email to Engineering students and faculty, School of Engineering and Applied Science Dean Vijay Kumar wrote that “[o]ut of an abundance of caution,” access to the Engineering Quad would be restricted “via Penn Card only at the Levine lobby entrance and the Skirkanich 33rd Street entrance.”

A petition calling for the shutdown of Ghost Robotics, circulated by the Instagram account “shut.down.ghost.robotics,” had more than 3,000 signatures by the time of publication.

“As University of Pennsylvania students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and Philadelphia community members, we demand that the University cut all financial, logistical, and academic ties with Ghost Robotics, located at Pennovation Works, effective immediately,” the petition reads.

The group wrote in an Instagram post on Friday that they delivered the petition to Kumar and Senior Vice President for Facilities and Real Estate Services Anne Papageorge. 

“Some of the activists were detained by UPPD,” the caption of the post reads. “This is not a surprise with the release of Penn's new protest guidelines which dictate how dissent against their system may be performed.”

The trespass citations were issued the same day as the University implemented new temporary guidelines for campus demonstrations and following a semester that saw increased rates of campus activism.