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Kuya Kim’s daughter reacts to getting kicked out of dorm after joining anti-Israel protest

Kuya Kim’s daughter reacts to getting kicked out of dorm after joining anti-Israel protest

Eliana Atienza, the 19-year-old daughter of Kim Atienza, said she was shocked upon learning that she was kicked out of her university dorm after participating in an anti-Israel protest. 

In an exclusive interview with GMA News Online, Eliana said she was one of the organizers of the encampment activity in Pennsylvania, which lasted for 17 days. The university called the police and arrested 32 people. 

“When Penn was trying to figure out who the organizers were they chose me and five other students and they banned us from campus. I live in a student dorm and so they didn’t allow me to enter (the) dorm building,” said Eliana, adding that she has joined other protest activities in the past.

“I’ve been a protester and an activist for a long time at Penn. I still do climate change protest but I have gotten very very involved to the Palestine organization,” she added. 

She has been aware of the university penalties and has also seen that other universities in America that have imposed strict policies. She noted that some were specific to Palestine-related activities, as she opined that “there is a double-standard.”

“Still, it was all in response to speaking out about the genocide in Gaza and it was quite shocking. These universities cannot ban students from campus from speaking out about genocide. What if it happened to someone who was not able to find a place,” she added.

Eliana said she has been harassed online, particularly from American news outlets and Americans, especially when she said in an international media outlet that she went homeless after getting kicked out of the student dorm.

Some reports pointed out that she came from a wealthy family in the Philippines and that there’s no way she has nowhere to go.

“They call me racist things or sexist things or derogatory things because I’m a woman. The reports we’re very misleading,” she said.

Eliana said she only received an email at around 11 a.m., which said “due to an exceptional circumstances, when a student’s presence on campus is a threat to health, order and safety, they are banned from campus.”

“So they had banned (me) because they said I was a threat to safety. It’s a 12 hour difference so my Mom and Dad were both asleep so from there I was looking to where to stay, where to go, what clothes to get, how to get a toothbrush, etcetera,” she shared.

‘It’s been a lot’

Eliana admitted that the past few weeks have been difficult but she felt secure with the strength and courage from the other activists, the Filipino-American community and her family.

Her father, Kim Atienza, has expressed support for her stand.

“Anti-genocide siya. My daughter has been very vocal about what she believes in and part siya ng anti-genocide and anti-war organization,” said Kim Atienza, also known as "Kuya Kim," in a phone interview with GMA News Online.

“The family has been very supportive of her, and since we know she is fighting for human rights. Matapang siya e,” he added.

Kuya Kim also cleared that Eliana was not expelled from the university and she will be back in the next semester after their summer break.

After all, this is not just Eliana’s fight as she noted that her story is just one of thousands experienced across America where students she said, are "bullied by their universities for speaking out against genocide."

“I think the universities need to be protecting their students. I’m just one of thousands and thousands of students who have put their education on the line for this,” she said. 

“The world needs to be angry about what’s happening in Gaza. Right now in Gaza there are 40,000 who have been killed, 15,000 of them were children. The world needs to be watching on what’s going on in Gaza  and we can all demand that the destruction stopped and we cannot afford to be silenced until Palestine is free,” Eliana added. — BAP, GMA Integrated News