Philadelphia/ Politics & Govt
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Published on May 20, 2024
Drexel University President Calls for Resolution as Pro-Palestinian Encampment Leads to Lockdown in PhiladelphiaSource: Jmh485, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Drexel University's president is urging an end to the encampment of pro-Palestinian protesters that have descended on its Philadelphia campus, following arrests at a nearby university and leading to a lockdown on Sunday, sources report. John Fry, the institution's head, issued a statement reminding Drexel students that participation in the protest could result in disciplinary action, as reported by 6abc. The move comes hours after the arrest of 19 individuals at the University of Pennsylvania, with protesters promptly establishing their new site at Drexel.

According to FOX29, Fry has highlighted concerns for community safety and the need to keep the school operational, hence the initiation of virtual classes on Monday for Drexel students, the president is also coordinating with local officials and law enforcement to manage the situation and students have expressed a range of reactions, with some finding the lockdown "very inconvenient" as it impedes their access to resources and campus facilities they depend upon, including the Baiada center, a hub for student-run companies.

Alumni and current students alike seem torn over the presence of the encampment, as stated in CBS News, with some curiosity from onlookers like Jake Fischer, "I've seen everything on social media, I wanted to see it in the flesh," he confessed and other students aired frustrations over the disruption to their daily routines, 

While the focus remains on ensuring the community's safety, Fry's insistence that "This encampment must end" underscores the university's position against the ongoing protest and the need to resume campus life without further interruptions, meanwhile, students such as Carmelo Giargiari from Lafayette Hill observed that "They're all kind of telling their stories, it's very interesting. They all believe. They'll believe till the end." Whether the students who are participating understand the potential consequences laid out by their university president, and in the backdrop of these events, the cost of education weighs heavily on the minds of students, "I pay a lot to come to Drexel and for us to just get classes pushed back wastes my money," Gittleman added—evidence of a campus community contending with the heavy intersection of academic investment, free speech, and civic protest.