CAIR-Philadelphia Denounces University of Pennsylvania’s Decision to Ban 6 Student Protestors from Campus, Ongoing Threat of Police Violence on Students

(PHILADELPHIA, PA, 5/9/2024) – The Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Philadelphia), the region’s only Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, denounced the University of Pennsylvania for placing 6 students on mandatory leave, banning them from being present on campus, including academic buildings and their dorms/university housing. 

See: Penn places six students on leave of absence due to affiliation with Gaza Solidarity Encampment

At UPenn, students have camped on campus after their university disallowed the student group Penn Against the Occupation and failed to meet student demands calling for divestment from companies that profit off of the ongoing genocide against the Palestinian people. UPenn threatened the students with suspension and arrests, leading to Philadelphia community members and other students joining the encampment in support. 

Since the University of Pennsylvania encampment started, the following calls to UPenn administration have been made:

CAIR-Philadelphia and over 20 leading mosques in the area called on Penn and other campuses to respect student activism and heed their call.

UPenn chapter of American Association of University Professors (AAUPPenn) released a statement pointing out inaccurate claims by UPenn administrators.

Local political leaders including State Senators, State Representatives, and City Councilmembers called on UPenn to avoid bringing PPD and causing violence against protestors. 

In a statement, CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director Dr. Ahmet Tekelioglu said: “With their decision to ban students from campus, UPenn administration once again failed their students and the Philadelphia community. Mayor Parker and all politicians should question the Penn interim president’s approach that has irrevocably damaged the trust between our communities and UPenn. The ongoing threat of police violence against students is unacceptable and local authorities must continue to question Penn’s approach and explore ways to prevent another cycle of violence enacted on protestors. While students continue their negotiations with UPenn, the university’s recent decision to reject the offer from students to include the presence of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and State Representative Rick Krajewski as facilitators is yet another example of an unacceptable bad faith indication.” 

See: Penn leaders hold third meeting with student protestors as encampment nears two-week mark 

See: Councilmember says Penn President is not answering her calls

In Pennsylvania, student encampments continue at Bryn Mawr College and Swarthmore College. Dickinson College students arrived at an agreement with their university and closed the encampment while continuing their advocacy. 

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

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CONTACT: CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director Ahmet Selim Tekelioglu, PhD; 617-401-5397 (mobile),

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