Penn’s Gutmann Criticized for “Die-In” Pose

Confronted with protesters, she joined them. Campus police are unhappy.

When protesters invaded Penn President Amy Gutmann’s holiday party Monday night, she made a snap decision: She joined them in a “die-in” — a protest that’s become popular in the wake of two grand juries’ decisions not to indict police officers for killing black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City.

Now she’s being criticized by Eric Rohrback, president of Penn’s police officers’ union.

“I am appalled that the president of this fine university would give in to the pressures of the uninformed mob mentality surrounding the Michael Brown case and participate in a ‘die-in’… ,” he wrote to The Inquirer. “It is a slap in the face to every person that wears this uniform and serves this university.” (He sent a similar message to the Daily Pennsylvanian.)

Maureen S. Rush, Penn’s vice president for public safety, offered a defense.

“I can assure you that her laying on the ground was not solidarity against police,” said Rush, a former Philadelphia police officer. “It was solidarity with students who are expressing their personal opinions. There’s not a doubt in my mind of Amy Gutmann’s loyalty and respect for law enforcement across the board and in particular the Penn police.”

[Philadelphia Inquirer]