Pro-Palestine protesters pack up tent encampment at Drexel University

A pro-Palestine tent encampment that overtook part of Drexel University's campus peacefully disbanded early Thursday morning. 

Protesters willingly collected their belongings and took down tents to signal an end to the encampment on the school’s Korman Quad. University officials said a "considerable majority" of protesters included in the group Drexel Palestine Coalition were not affiliated with Drexel.

"The encampment had threatened the safety of our community and severely disrupted student life activities and normal academic and administrative operations as we enter the last weeks before final exams," Drexel President John Fry said. "Over the past five days, protesters ignored our daily calls to disband the encampment; subjected passersby to discriminatory and inflammatory rhetoric; and verbally abused our Public Safety officers repeatedly."

Fry said members of the Philadelphia Police Department joined campus police and public safety officers Thursday to clear the encampment "as peacefully as possible." It doesn't appear as though police entered the encampment, and the show of force was enough to motivate protesters to pack up.

"An unauthorized encampment that involves large numbers of people unaffiliated with Drexel trespassing on our campus is illegal," Fry said in a statement Thursday. "The language and chants coming from this demonstration, underscored by protestors’ repugnant "demands," must now come to an end."


Pro-Palestinian protesters at Drexel ignore call to disband as nationwide arrests surpass 3,000

Pro-Palestinian protesters have ignored a request by Drexel University’s president to disband their encampment as arrests linked to campus demonstrations against the Israel-Hamas war surpass the 3,000 mark nationwide.

No arrests were immediately reported at Drexel. This comes nearly two weeks after Philadelphia police arrested over two dozen protesters while dismantling the tent encampment that occupied part of UPenn's campus. 

"While Drexel University is committed to protecting the right of its community members to assemble peacefully and express their views, I have the responsibility and authority to regulate campus gatherings in order to ensure everyone’s safety and well-being and to fulfill our mission to educate our students," Fry wrote.

The Drexel protesters’ demands ranged from the university administration calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and divesting from companies that do business with Israel, to abolition of the Drexel police department and termination of the school’s chapter of Hillel, the Jewish campus organization, and another Jewish campus group, Chabad.