Drexel University on Lockdown Amid Protests and Encampment

"This encampment must end," insists Drexel's prez. Plus: Penn students not allowed at commencement.

Protesters of the war in Gaza at an encampment at Philadelphia's Drexel University, which is now on lockdown

Protesters of the war in Gaza at an encampment at Philadelphia’s Drexel University, which is now on lockdown (Getty Images)

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Drexel University on Lockdown Amid Protests and Encampment

About a week after police cleared a protest encampment at the University of Pennsylvania, protesters of the war in Gaza have now descended on Drexel University. There, they’ve set up an encampment that numbers as many as 60, according to officials. In response to the encampment, Drexel University president John Fry placed the campus on lockdown over the weekend. The lockdown remains in effect through at least Monday. Access to all Drexel University buildings and facilities is limited to “essential” workers who have been cleared by Drexel Public Safety. Any scheduled classes have been moved to virtual.

“This demonstration already has proved intolerably disruptive to normal University operations and has raised serious concerns about the conduct of some participants, including distressing reports and images of protestors subjecting passersby to antisemitic speech, signs and chants,” Fry said in a statement on Sunday night.

Protesters form an encampment at Drexel University, which is now on lockdown

Protesters form an encampment at Drexel University, which is now on lockdown (Getty Images)

“These kinds of hateful and intimidating acts must be condemned, and they cannot and will not be tolerated,” Fry continued. “Moreover, it has become increasingly apparent that most of the encampment participants are outside individuals who are unaffiliated with Drexel. … Drexel will not allow anyone or any activity to sabotage our teaching and research activities or contribute to a hostile environment that leaves any member of our community feeling threatened, harassed, or intimidated. We are therefore coordinating with local officials and the Philadelphia Police Department to ensure the safety of our community and the continued operations of our academic and research endeavors.”

Fry said that Drexel had opened a line of communication with the protesters with the hope for an uneventful resolution. But he stated, in no uncertain terms: “This encampment must end.” He also reminded students that they could face disciplinary actions if their behavior violates Drexel’s Student Code of Conduct.

Speaking of disciplinary actions, Penn as barred at least three seniors from graduation. This is a result of disciplinary actions stemming from the protests at Penn. And on Friday, police arrested 19 people at Penn as protesters attempted to take over a campus building.

More on these protests as they develop.

Homicide Numbers Continue to Go Down

Some new stats from the Philadelphia Police Department give us continued hope for the city. As of Monday morning, a total of 96 homicides have been recorded in Philadelphia so far this year. Far too many. But. Compare that number to where we were last year, which was 157 homicides. The year before that? 180. The year before that? 199. That means that homicides in Philadelphia are down 39 percent this year over the same period last year. Down 47 percent from two years ago. And down 57 percent from 2021. If this trend continues, we could see fewer homicides in Philadelphia this year than we’ve seen in a decade.

Local Talent

Last week gave us an awesome when-worlds-collide moment in Philly talent. Disney — which owns ESPN, where Jason Kelce is now working, and ABC, where Quinta Brunson’s Abbott Elementary is a huge hit — held an event where ESPN officially announced Kelce’s new gig.

Quinta Brunson and Jason Kelce

Quinta Brunson and Jason Kelce (image courtesy Disney)

Brunson was on hand, and Kelce promptly grabbed her and lifted her into the air. “I am so short,” she later told Seth Meyers on his late-night TV show. “I haven’t been this high off the ground in so long. This was insane. … The last time I felt that way was on Tower of Terror. My stomach went up and everything.” Brunson is just a hair under five feet tall. Kelce stands about six-three.

By the Numbers

$300 million: Amount Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections is looking for in next year’s budget. It’s a substantial increase from previous numbers. This has some lawmakers in Harrisburg scratching their heads. After all, the prison population has decreased. And the state recently closed two prisons, which was supposed to save taxpayers money.

67: Years Cabrini University lasted in the western ‘burbs before holding its final commencement ceremony over the weekend. And who was the commencement speaker? Cabrini alum Kylie Kelce, who goes down in history as the most famous person ever to have graduated from the school. One bit of local trivia: In a previous life, the Cabrini grounds were the estate of John Thompson Dorrance, the guy who invented condensed soup and went on to make Campbell Soup Company famous. His granddaughter, Mary Alice Dorrance Malone, is one of Pennsylvania’s richest people, valued north of $4 billion. As for the future of Cabrini, Villanova University now owns the campus.

$2.65 million: Selling price of the Center City penthouse formerly occupied by Pat Burrell, who played for the Phillies from 2000 to 2008. Not a bad deal considering that the asking price had originally been $4.3 million, in 2022. Burrell designed the penthouse himself, and it sounds like that might have had some impact on the property sitting on the market for so long. The listing agent told the Business Journal that it felt like a bit of “a bachelor pad.” The seller was Thomas Domalski, a former trader at Susquehanna International Group, the renowned Main Line investment firm helmed by the controversial Jeff Yass. Domalski bought the condo from Burrell for $2.6 million in 2012. Guessing this wasn’t his best-ever investment.

And From the Whackin’-and-Whalin’ Sports Desk …

The Phils, hosting the Nationals on Friday night, went up 1-0 in the first on a J.T. Realmuto single and an Alec Bohm double. (The doubles!) Alas, the Nats tied that in the second after Zack Wheeler hit a batter and gave up a single, walked a batter on four straight pitches. He then struck out the final batter on three straight strikes. It’s a confusing game, baseball.

The Phils notched two more in the second after starter Jake Irvin walked Brandon Marsh. Edmundo Sosa then singled and got to third on a wild pitch, and Kyle Schwarber’s grounder scored him. Add one in the fourth on a Bryson Stott single, Nick Castellanos getting hit by a pitch, and a Marsh double (of course); the runs just kept coming. Wheeler gave up another run on back-to-back doubles in the fifth before a great peg by Casty got the runner trying to steal third.

Jacob Barnes in for Irvin in the sixth, but Zack made it through one out in the eighth before leaving the mound to the cheers of the crowd. José Alvarado finished that one out, and it was Jeff Hoffman in the ninth. He did allow a one-out double, and Jesse Winkler whaled one almost to the wall, but Casty made the catch in right for the last out. Too bad they had to wear those hideous unis, though.

Cristopher Sánchez was on the mound on Saturday, in a game briefly delayed by rain, and he gave up three straight singles for a Nats 1-0 lead. He settled down, though. Unfortunately, Nats lefthander MacKenzie Gore was settled in, too, but the Phils managed to tie it in the fourth on a singles by Harper and Bohm, a Harper steal of third and a Stott ground-out. Washington went ahead again in the fifth on a pair of singles, but Stott evened it up with a solo homer in the seventh, and Gore came out for Dylan Floro.

An inning later, Matt Strahm paced Sánchez and worked out of trouble after he allowed a double. Rojas led off our half with a single, and J.T. got one, too, but the Phils couldn’t score. In the ninth, Orion Kerkering hit Joey Gallo with a pitch after Riley Adams’s one-out single, and a ground-out put them at first and third. Jesse Winker’s single scored the pinch-runner, but Kerkering got the third out on a K. It took pinch-hitter Kody Clemens’s two-out solo homer off reliever Kyle Finnegan to keep us in the game.

Extra innings again! On came Gregory Soto for three straight outs (plus a wild pitch), and with Rojas starting the bottom half at second, the Nats walked Schwarbs on purpose, and Rojas went to third on a J.T. fly out before Harper scored him with a sac fly. Phils win, 4-3!

It was the good Aaron Nola on the mound yesterday afternoon. He did walk a batter in the second inning, but then he picked him off, so … Trevor Williams was fine for the Nats until the second inning, when a Clemens double and singles by Castellanos and Marsh brought in a run. In the third, one more run on singles by Stott and Harper and a Bohm sac fly. But the Nats came back to tie it in the fourth with a two-run Eddie Rosario homer, and took the lead in the fifth on a Winker solo homer. And then the murders began. The hits just kept coming — Castellanos went 3-for-4, and Bohm wound up with five RBIs as the Phils took an 11-3 lead.

The Nats made a stab at a ninth-inning rally, but it fizzled into a Phils 11-5 win and another series sweep. Nola went a full seven innings only allowing two hits. They’ll take today off and start a home series with the Rockies on Tuesday.

Any Doop News?

The Union traveled to Gillette Stadium on Saturday night to take on New England, and 14 minutes in, the Revolution’s Ryan Spaulding picked up a red card for tripping Mikael Uhre. Twenty-five minutes in, José Martínez got whacked in the shoulder and had to come out for sub Jack McGlynn, and Nathan Harriel got a yellow five minutes later for a hard tackle. Julián Carranza’s shot from a McGlynn assist put us up in the 38th, and Oliver Semmle, in goal (still) for the injured Andre Blake, had a great stop just seconds later.

Two minutes into the second half, Dániel Gazdag put one in off Uhre’s header rebounding from the goalpost, and in the 79th minute, he got another for the 3-0 lead. One final miraculous Semmle save, and that’s where it stayed. I understand why there are red cards, but man, it does make the game less beautiful. Still — we needed the win, so doop!

All Philly Today sports coverage is provided by Sandy Hingston.