A message from Interim President J. Larry Jameson

Late yesterday afternoon, a group of individuals led a series of protests that began at Temple University and traveled to Philadelphia City Hall and to Drexel University. At approximately 4:00 p.m., these protestors arrived on Locust Walk, joining with members of our Penn community.

Penn’s Division of Public Safety, in partnership with local law enforcement, was informed of these pending demonstrations and worked to initiate safety plans in anticipation of the protestors arriving on our campus.

Like many other colleges and universities across the country, Penn now has an encampment of protestors, with 10 tents currently on College Green. We are closely monitoring the encampment to ensure the safety of the Penn community and the protestors.

Penn has and will continue to support the rights of our community members to protest peacefully and in keeping with University policy. At Penn, we will stand up for free speech and the productive exchange of ideas, even when we disagree.

We will not stand by, however, if protected protest and speech deteriorate into words and actions that violate Penn’s policies, disrupt University business, or contribute to an intimidating or hostile environment on our campus. We are assessing the details of the protest through this lens and will take follow-up action as appropriate.

Safety is, and will continue to be, our top priority, and there will be consequences for actions that are not permitted by University policies or local, state, or federal law. We recognize that this encampment may cause fear and anxiety by the very fact of it being on our campus. Please don’t hesitate to access Penn’s safety and wellness resources, which can be found here.

When protestors arrived on our campus yesterday, I joined with members of the Penn community in a listening session during which speakers shared passionate views and painful experiences. I left inspired by the collective commitment to productive exchange, mutual respect, and care for one another and was gratified to see it on full display. This event served as a reminder that as a University community, we can engage thoughtfully and respectfully on the hard issues and questions of this moment. These conversations are important and must continue, and you have my commitment that they will.


J. Larry Jameson, MD, Ph.D.
Interim President