University of Pennsylvania issues new protest rules, bans encampments on campus

The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) issued new temporary rules around protesting, including banning encampments after having to arrest more than 30 people on its campus.

The new rules ban encampments and overnight demonstrations “in any University location, regardless of space (indoor or outdoor). Unauthorized overnight activities will be considered trespassing and addressed.”

The temporary rules, which will be reviewed by a faculty-led committee during the next school year, were established after pro-Palestinian encampments popped up at dozens of schools across the country at the end of the 2023-2024 academic year.

Penn arrested 33 people involved with such protests.

The new rules also prohibit projections on buildings and semipermanent or permanent substances used on university surfaces, another common tactic that was seen during the demonstrations the past two months.

The policies also address speakers coming on campus and say protests can not stop that person from presenting.

“The University aims to foster open and rigorous debate, to protect academic freedom and free speech, and to promote constructive discussion, even on the most challenging, sensitive, and controversial issues. Indeed, central to our mission is providing a platform upon which various viewpoints are expressed and encouraged,” the school said in its guiding principles for the mandates.

The protests across the country led to thousands of arrests and mass disruptions to the end of the school year, as some institutions moved the last few weeks of classes online due to safety and security concerns.

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