UPenn graduation: More than 6,000 students attend after Pro-Palestinian protests on campus

The University of Pennsylvania elevated security ahead of commencement as tension on campus surrounding the ongoing war in Gaza remains high. 

Guests watched on as more than 6,000 walked across the stage at Franklin Field Monday morning, but first they had to pass through an airport-style security checkpoint. 

Metal detectors and an increased number of security officers were visible, while the university banned flags, noisemakers and signs.

The Ivy League university's 268th graduation comes just days after 19 people, including 6 students, were arrested when a pro-Palestine group swarmed campus.

Police said they thwarted the group's attempt to occupy Fisher-Bennett Hall and found lock picks and metal shields made within the group's belongings. 


UPenn protests: 19 arrested, 6 of them students, as protesters attempted to occupy campus building

19 people arrested after hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters converged on the UPenn campus in an effort to seize campus building.

Penn Police said they also found exit doors had been zip-tied along with barbed wire attached to the doors and they were barricaded with metal chairs and desks. 

The group eventually dispersed around 10 p.m. and headed towards Franklin Field, but they were again met by police stationed outside the stadium. 

The Friday night demonstration came a week after police dismantled a pro-Palestine tent encampment on campus and arrested 30 protesters for defiant trespassing.

In a letter to the school community, leaders said their outreach efforts with encampment representatives was "met by unreasonable demands and a dangerous escalation of the encampment" and called dismantling the encampment "unfortunate but necessary."

"The protesters refused repeatedly to disband the encampment, to produce identification, to stop threatening, loud, and discriminatory speech and behavior, and to comply with instructions from Penn administrators and Public Safety," the letter read in part. 

"There are times when our abiding commitment to open expression requires balancing free speech with our responsibility to safety, security, and continuing the operations of the University. This is one of those times and why we have acted."