We camped out on college green for 39 days, demanding justice from penn
Starting on September 14th and ending on October 22nd, we brought our demands to the forefront of campus coversation and made the most progess we ever have towards meeting our goals.
Our demands from Penn for this encampment are:
Commit $5-10 million and/or land to the purchase and preservation of the People’s Townhomes
Divest from fossil fuels
WHY? These demands seek to transform the force of the University of Pennsylvania into a force for good. For years, the University has followed and financed systems of exploitation that put frontline communities at risk. This is why FFP is not only demanding divestment, but also for the University to pay Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOTs). PILOTs are fundamentally an environmental justice issue. Penn cheats Philadelphia schools of crucial funds by not paying property taxes, even though it is the largest employer in the city. This means that the schools in Philadelphia do not have the resources to address environmental problems such as asbestos, which affects the health of young students.
FFP similarly connects our goals for climate justice to the fight to save the UC Townhomes. We demand from Penn not only to remove their money from fossil fuels but to invest it into creating a more just Philadelphia. The demand to save the UC Townhomes is a particularly urgent matter, as residents are set to be evicted on December 27th. Under the new leadership of President Liz Magill, we believe Penn has a unique opportunity to make positive change. Therefore, FFP will continue to occupy campus until the University meets this demand.
ADMINISTRATION RESPONSE Despite the fact that they aren't breaking any rules, students have faced harrasment and intimidation from the university. Towards the start of the action, the office of the Vice President of University Life, visited the encampment nearly every day, demanding that students identify themselves, show university ID, and leave, which is inherently intimidating. The University guidelines on open expression afford protesters protections from being targeted and reported upon at a protest, but university administration has tried to circumvent their own rules by saying the encampment is an event, and not a protest, thus the rights of protesters are void. It’s conveniently Orwellian to say that, yes, protesters have protections at this university, but the administration decides what is and is not a protest. This disciplinary process is still ongoing...