Press release: IUB-AAUP Deplores Rokita’s attacks on IU Professor Caitlin Bernard; Calls on Administration to defend Dr. Bernard

The following press release was sent to the Bloomingtonian this week:

“July 26, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

On Monday, the IU Bloomington chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) passed a resolution deploring Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita’s attacks on Dr. Caitlin Bernard, a professor at Indiana University School of Medicine. The AAUP chapter calls on the senior IU administration to defend Professor Bernard against the baseless and damaging actions of the attorney general, who threatens to bring the power of his office to bear against a respected clinician and IU professor for her compassionate care performing an urgent and legal medical procedure on an underage rape victim. The attorney general’s attention-seeking actions, in aiming to criminalize emergency health care and the exercise of reproductive rights, prioritize an ideological agenda over the administration of justice. The AAUP, founded in 1915 to defend the rights of academic freedom for the public good, considers Attorney General Rokita’s misuse of his office to be a direct threat to the norms of academic freedom essential to the mission of Indiana University. We find it is unacceptable that the senior IU administration has not yet publicly defended Professor Bernard and the professional standards of the IU School of Medicine. 

Text of the resolution:

The IUB-AAUP deplores Attorney General Todd Rokita’s rhetorical attacks on and promise to investigate Dr. Caitlin Bernard. Dr. Bernard is a physician affiliated with IU Health and an Assistant Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Indiana University School of Medicine. She is a dedicated teacher, an active scholar, and the recipient of numerous awards. She is, in short, a distinguished member of the IU community.

The attacks on her are a threat to academic freedom and to medical professionalism.

And the silence of top IU administration about these attacks is disappointing and indeed shameful. 

Indiana University is a public university, not an extension of the state’s Republican administration or the Attorney General’s far-right anti-abortion agenda. If it stands for anything, it is the freedom of its faculty and professional staff to do their jobs without being threatened or investigated for doing so. 

Indiana University President Whitten and other IU authorities ought to speak up loudly and clearly in defense of Dr. Bernard and against the vindictive investigation announced by Attorney General Rokita. 

To do anything less is a disgrace to academic values, civil liberty, and simple human decency.

For more information contact: Benjamin Robinson at 812-360-1506 or Jeff Isaac: [email protected]

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