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UPenn faculty block building entrance, stage ‘die-in’ protest in support of Palestinians

University of Pennsylvania Faculty for Justice in Palestine staged a "die-in" to show support for Palestinian civilians struggling in Gaza amid the conflict.

A group of faculty members at the University of Pennsylvania gathered on Monday to show their support for civilians in Gaza by staging a "die-in" where they blocked the entrance to a campus building.

During the die-in organized by the Penn Faculty for Justice in Palestine (PFJP), participants pretended to be dead on the ground at the steps of College Hall. The display was meant to signify those killed in the Israel-Hamas war, according to The Daily Pennsylvanian.

The entrance was closed for one hour as two officers from the Division of Public Safety stood nearby.

"We're here because the university has been largely overlooking the Palestinian community and the killing of tens of thousands of civilians," PFJO spokesperson and Penn Medicine associate professor Bassil Kublaoui said.


He said the protest was orchestrated to bring attention to "inaction" by the university related to the Palestinian community and "racist, hate speech directed towards faculty, staff and students calling for Palestinian justice."

Protesters at the event held signs protesting the death of Palestinians and laid down a display showing the names of nearly 7,000 Palestinians killed during the conflict. They also recited their names and ages throughout the demonstration.

Approximately 86 university affiliates participated in or watched the protest before walking towards the Stuart Weitzman School of Design, where they continued to hold signs and chant.

PFJP was formed on January 7 and claims to show solidarity with the struggles of Palestinians resisting "occupation, warfare and displacement."

The group also said they are committed to voicing concerns related to the formation of two distinct task forces on campus, one of which investigates antisemitism while the other looks into the "interconnectedness between antisemitism and other forms of hate, including Islamophobia."


"Penn has two separate task forces, one of which is committed to condemning antisemitism and the other being for 'everything else,'" Kublaoui said. "Racism can target anyone, and this ignores discrimination against Palestinians, Arabs, and other allies who are neither Muslim or Jewish."

The University of Pennsylvania did not return Fox News Digital's request for comment.

Over 900 faculty members at the university signed an open letter in December opposing the influence of trustees and donors following the resignation of President Liz Magill.

Magill stepped down in the days after a December 5 congressional hearing on antisemitism when she gave a non-answer to New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik's question asking if "calling for the genocide of Jews violate[s] Penn's rules or code of conduct? Yes or no?"

"If the speech turns into conduct, it can be harassment. Yes," Magill responded, later adding, "It is a context-dependent decision."

Last week, a U.S. congressional committee requested documents from the University of Pennsylvania regarding the school's "abysmal" response to antisemitism on its campus.

Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., chairwoman of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, sent a letter to the university's leadership asking for all reports of antisemitic occurrences on campus and any documents showing disciplinary action taken by the institution since January 1, 2021.

 Fox News' Stephen Sorace contributed to this report. 

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