Fossil Free Penn protestors storm field during Homecoming football game
Student protestors from Fossil Free Penn delayed Penn's Homecoming football game by more than an hour after storming Franklin Field on Saturday afternoon
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Student protestors from Fossil Free Penn delayed the game by more than an hour after storming Franklin Field on Saturday afternoon during the second half of Penn’s homecoming football game.
This comes as no surprise since some students started protesting on Sept. 14 the upcoming UC Townhomes eviction ( Dec. 27).
The students have clear demands: stop investing in fossil fuels, pay fair share of property tax to support city schools, and save low-income housing complexes in West Philadelphia, something Penn Senior Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli stated does not have ‘any influence’ over redevelopment plans as reported by OutKick.
The protestors carried banners with ‘Whose side are you on?,” and “Save the UC Townhomes.” Some members of the crowd applauded the students’ efforts but others wanted them to be removed.
“It's not like we're asking for anything crazy or unreasonable,” said Ari Bortman, the organizer for Fossil Free Penn to 6ABC news. “We want Penn to be a good neighbor, a good citizen of Philadelphia and this is how they respond. They took 19 students out in handcuffs.”
The protesters stated their intention was never to stop the game but delay it because “we don't want to inconvenience players, families, but people are losing their homes, people are being evicted, so that's why we feel the need to fight," said student protestor Gigi Varlotta, who was charged with defiant trespass.
Although protestors have allegedly been ‘afforded multiple opportunities to protest,’ they continue to find ways to disrupt University activities.
“The intentional disruption of today’s football game was neither an appropriate expression of free speech, nor consistent with Penn’s open expression guidelines,” according to an email sent to The Daily Pennsylvanian from University spokesperson Ron Ozio. “Student protesters’ conduct does nothing to advance their legitimate policy concerns, concerns the University shares, but rather impinges upon the rights of others in the community to participate in the life of the campus.”
The eviction date for residents of the Townhomes is on Dec. 27 and Al Día News will provide further updates.