Filipino student suspended, left ‘homeless’ after joining pro-Palestine protest in the US


MANILA – Filipino international student Eliana Atienza was suspended for participating in the protest encampment at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn).

In an interview, Atienza said that she has been a long-time environmental activist in UPenn and has recently gotten involved in the campaign to support Palestine.

The encampment activity, organized by Atienza along with her fellow students, was done to urge the university to cut its ties with Israel. This lasted for 17 days even after the university called the police and arrested 32 people.

Atienza, the daughter of TV host Kim Atienza, and five other students were reportedly suspended by UPenn afterwards, and were eventually denied access to their university dorms, leaving the students practically homeless.

In a report, the New York Post downplayed the harsh response of the university, and instead highlighted the wealth of Atienza’s family in the Philippines.

In a news report, Kim Atienza said that their family fully supports their daughter’s political stand, and refutes claims that his daughter is pro-Hamas.

“She is anti-genocide,” he said in an interview with GMA News Online. “My daughter has been very vocal about what she believes in and she is a part of anti-genocide and anti-war organizations (in UPenn),” he added.

Kabataan para sa Tribung Pilipino (KATRIBU) said that Atienza has every right to education and housing as an international student, regardless of her wealth, and added that UPenn only mirrors the act of Israel, which continues to displace Palestinians who are indigenous to their land.

“The youth will never be ‘too young’ to speak their minds and truths. Student encampments have shown the capacity of the youth to lead communities on the basis of justice and peace,” said KATRIBU chairperson Eloisa Mesina.

League of Filipino Students (LFS) also condemns Atienza’s suspension.

“Eliana’s suspension from school shall not cower but rather empower students in participating in political discourse and raising it into action,” said the student organization.

“It is a challenge for every youth intellectual to dedicate their intelligence and spirit in service of the oppressed people around the world,” they added. (RVO) (

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