Breaking Campus News. Launching Media Careers.
Swarthmore College pro-Hamas activists reluctantly end longest Philly-area encampment

Cite threats from ’25 white teenagers from surrounding community’

The longest Philadelphia-area pro-Hamas encampment came to an end this past week as over 30 Swarthmore College activists voluntarily packed up and left.

The encampment endured for about a month, with the student paper The Phoenix chronicling its early days. One of its last reports noted pro-Hamas demonstrators had temporarily left the encampment to disrupt “Worthstock” festivities by chanting over music and waving flags.

At least one Worthstock act ended up canceling due to the activists’ antics.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer — which highlights statistics and comments from the Palestinian Health Ministry and Swarthmore’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter — the duration of the encampment led to the school moving today’s commencement to Fairmount Park’s Mann (Music) Center.

It’s the first time in the school’s 160-year history that commencement activities had to switch locales.

Swarthmore activist “Ragad A.” said the protesters decided to leave “largely” out of safety worries; Ragad claimed ten days ago counter-protesters had “launched fireworks toward the encampment and threatened to attack it.”

A post on the Swarthmore SJP Instagram account alleges a “group of 25 white teenagers from the surrounding community” who “appeared drunk” made the threats on May 17. The teens allegedly said they would take down the existing encampment and establish a “rival Zionist” one complete with “Trump and Israel flags.”

“This incident comes almost immediately after Co-Presidents Sakomura and Goldberg released a statement calling [pro-Hamas] student activists ‘intimidating’ and ‘threatening,'” the post reads.

MORE: Swarthmore College activists issue demands, strike against ‘institutional anti-blackness’

Oddly, the Swarthmore SJP Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts have no images or video of the alleged teenaged hooligans.

A few days after the post about the threats, the SJP complained about possible college sanctions against student activists, writing

Swarthmore College has done nothing but proven themself to be an inhuman institution that would rather take away housing and wages than to allow for students to fight against a genocide that its $3 billion endowment is invested in. The school would rather invest in genocide and align itself with a settler-colonial regime than care about the safety of their own students. It is scary how quickly this “Quaker institution” has utilized the same suppression tactics they denounce in classes.

Ragad A. said the discipline notices “came after 16 hours of negotiations with Swarthmore administrators” that ultimately ended in a “stalemate.”

Ragad claimed Swarthmore officials initially appeared “amenable” to creating an “ethical investments committee” and a scholarship for “at risk” students in Gaza (“where no universities remain,” according to the Inquirer).

“That changed,” however, when officials refused to put out an official statement condemning “the systemic dismantling of Gaza’s education system,” colorfully referred to as “scholasticide.”

Ragad said Swarthmore’s pro-Hamas activists “feel incredibly proud that [they] did not accept anything less than what [they] believe in,” adding they “feel empowered.”

MORE: Swarthmore students upset they actually got in trouble for office sit-in protest

IMAGE: Swarthmore SJP/Instagram

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

Please join the conversation about our stories on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, MeWe, Rumble, Gab, Minds and Gettr.

About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.