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Encampment forced Drexel to lock down, move online; activists demand Jewish groups ‘terminated’

Pro-Palestinian protesters demand Drexel ‘terminate’ Jewish groups Hillel, Chabad 

Anti-Israel protesters have set up an encampment at Drexel University and refused to leave despite repeated requests, prompting campus leaders to lockdown the campus earlier this week and move classes online.

The private Philadelphia institution remains quasi-locked down, and campus officials did not respond to requests from The College Fix asking about the status of June 14’s commencement ceremony.

Campus leaders announced a “phased return to normal operations” for the school that includes labs and studio classes returning to in-person while lecture classes remain virtual.

“The University will also continue virtual operations for all nonessential personnel,” President John Fry said in a statement Tuesday that added administrators have repeatedly asked the activists to disband.

“Based on our assessment of all the circumstances surrounding this encampment and the incendiary demands issued by the Drexel Palestine Coalition on Instagram, I have regrettably determined that we need additional time to resolve the situation so we can safely resume all in-person activities,” Fry stated.

The coalition, in a post on Instagram, detailed the activists’ demands, which includes Drexel showing support for a ceasefire in Gaza, abolishment of Drexel’s police department, and the termination of Drexel’s chapters of Hillel and Chabad.

Protesters could be seen sleeping in tents Tuesday morning at Korman Quad, which has been gated off. The Drexel Palestine Coalition announced via an Instagram post a rally set for Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., providing directions to the quad.

The “unauthorized pro-Palestinian encampment” was set up Sunday evening, said Fry in a statement emailed to students. “About 40 to 60 individuals are participating in this encampment.”

Videos show protesters with signs stating “The Nakba never ended,” “Palestine is a queer issue,” and “Stop the invasion! Stop the genocide!”

Fry stated the decision to close the campus was made to ensure “everyone’s safety and freedom from threats, harassment or intimidation, and preventing damage to our buildings.”

The coalition, in its demands, stated: “Immediately terminate Drexel Chabad due to welcoming an ex-IOF soldier into the Drexel community. Drexel Public Safety should not involve private, nor public police presence such as DUPD.”

“Philadelphia police and DUPD consistently show that they are ready and willing to use violence against students of color, specifically black and brown students, and community members who are primarily low income black residents,” it added.

On Sunday, the media organization Unicorn Riot live-streamed a raucous encounter between Philadelphia’s police department and the encampment. The protesters can be heard chanting, “PPD, KKK, IOF, they’re all the same.”

President Fry weighed in on the encampment’s hostile behavior in another campus statement.

“It has become increasingly clear that encampment protesters have created a hostile, confrontational environment by subjecting passersby to antisemitic speech and by issuing several ‘demands’ that have unacceptably targeted individual members of our faculty and professional staff,” he stated.

“This encampment cannot be allowed to remain in place,” he continued. ”I call on protesters to disband the encampment on their own immediately.”

MORE: Police use pepper spray to help shut down UMich anti-Israel protest, one of longest-running encampments

IMAGE: NBC 10 screenshot

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About the Author
College Fix contributor James Samuel is a student at Drexel University, majoring in economics and minoring in screenwriting. He writes independent movie reviews.