Penn: divest from Philly police, invest in Philly schools!


For years, we’ve been calling for Penn to stop dodging its financial obligations to our public schools, which serve mostly low-income black students. As a nonprofit, Penn isn’t required to pay property taxes to the city of Philadelphia, despite an almost $15 billion endowment and a consolidated operating budget of over $10.2 billion. In fact, Penn is the largest private landowner in the entire city, amounting to many millions of dollars per year in foregone revenue for the school district. Payments In Leiu Of Taxes (PILOTs) are a common way to make up for some of that loss.

Penn has always claimed that it’s impossible to make these payments. Now we know that it’s not about money, but about priorities. Penn is one of the closest partners of the Philadelphia Police Foundation, which has recently helped the PPD purchase long guns and related equipment for the SWAT unit, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (drones) for use by specially trained PPD “pilots,” and state of the Art Ballistic Helmets for the elite tactical SWAT Team Unit. The superintendent for Penn Police is also the Board President of the Philadelphia Police Foundation. When a petition was circulated to have Penn divest from Philly Police, Amy Gutmann sent an email ensuring that the university will not end their relationship with Philly Police.

Penn is failing our public schools while continuing to invest in a police force that has been meeting peaceful protests with violence. As members of the Penn community, we can do more. We’re flooding the inboxes of President Gutmann, Chairman David Cohen, the communications office, and several Deans to demand that they divest from the Philadelphia Police Foundation and Invest in our Public Schools by making Payments In Lieu of Taxes to our public schools NOW!