Drexel University placed on 'lockdown,' classes held remotely as occupation forms on campus

'As of now, about 40 to 60 individuals are participating in this encampment without the University’s permission or authorization,' Drexel President John Fry wrote in a Sunday message.

IG: @Drexel.Palestine.Coalition

Drexel University leadership placed the campus on “lockdown” after anti-Israel protesters set up an encampment.

The lockdown announcement was made Sunday, according to NBC Philadelphia. Administrators moved all classes to a virtual setting. A large number of Drexel employees were also told to work remotely.

”As of now, about 40 to 60 individuals are participating in this encampment without the University’s permission or authorization,” Drexel President John Fry wrote in a Sunday message. “As we shared in last night’s message, to minimize the possibility of further disruptions, including attempts by protesters to occupy our learning and working spaces, we have placed our buildings and facilities on lockdown, with access provided only to those with clearance from Drexel Public Safety.”

In a follow-up message Monday, Fry wrote that labs, studio classes and simulation classes would be held in-person on Tuesday, with lecture classes remaining remote. Fry said that the campus would “begin a phased return to normal operations.”

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Fry said that the anti-Israel encampment has been “extensively disruptive” to campus operations and has forced several events to be canceled.

He also described several of the encampment’s “Demands” as unacceptable.

”Worse, it has become increasingly clear that encampment protesters have created a hostile, confrontational environment by subjecting passersby to antisemitic speech and by issuing several ‘demands’ that have unacceptably targeted individual members of our faculty and professional staff, a member of our Real Estate Advisory Committee, and two Jewish campus organizations (Hillel and Chabad),” Fry wrote.

The Drexel Palestine Coalition (DPC) set up the encampment on Saturday and made a wide-ranging list of demands to administrators, including demands to close a Starbucks, end printing services with Hewlett-Packard, end agreements with Israeli universities, and more.

[RELATED: Sonoma State University president makes boycott deal with protesters, gets put on leave]

The group also demanded that Drexel administrators terminate the university’s Hillel chapter, which it describes as a “global zionist campus organization.”

It also called on administrators to terminate Drexel Chabad, “due to welcoming an ex-IOF soldier.”

The DPC also demanded that Drexel President John Fry “publicly and explicitly condemn the Israeli settler colonial project and ongoing genocide in occupied Palestine.”

Included in the list is a demand for Drexel to divest from “partnerships with Israeli state institutions and non-Israeli entities that fund and uphold the system of apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and genocide of Palestinians.”

The group also demanded that Fry receive a pay cut of 60%, with funds being redistributed into affordable housing, partnerships with Palestinian institutions, and rebuilding of Palestinian hospitals and universities.

Additionally, the group demanded that Drexel terminate two faculty members for their support of Israel.