News happenings this week – Classes start, Cake served, Abortion Now Illegal, along with sleeping on a sidewalk or pitching a closed tent in Bloomington because of “aesthetics”, IU Board of Trustees to consider 81-million-dollar apartment complex on leased former site of Poplars; Protest tonight against tent ban

Staff report

Bloomington, Indiana – August 22, 2023

As classes began at Indiana University Monday, IU President Pamela Whitten and Provost Rahul Shrivastav celebrated by serving cake. The event was documented on Instagram:

Meanwhile, abortion became illegal in Indiana, and Indiana attorney general Todd Rokita put out a statement celebrating:

“My office promised to defend Indiana’s pro-life law, and we have done that every step of the way. Today, the Indiana Supreme Court certified its opinion rejecting a constitutional challenge to Indiana’s pro-life law, which protects the lives of innocent, unborn babies. This is great news for Hoosier life and liberty. We defeated the pro-death advocates who try to interject their views in a state that clearly voted for life,” said Rokita.

FILE: A woman flips off a man who was using a megaphone to call pro-choice women sinners outside the Supreme Court of the United States after a conservative majority struck down Roe v Wade, on June 25, 2022, in Washington, District of Columbia. The Court’s decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health overturns the landmark 50-year-old Roe v Wade case and erases a federal right to an abortion. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
FILE: Abortion rights activists react by flipping off politicians after the Indiana House of Representatives votes to ban abortion, before passing the bill to the Senate, inside the Indiana State House during a special session on August 5, 2022, in Indianapolis, Indiana. The legislature held a special session to ban abortion rights in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade in June.

Then Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton put out his own statement:

“Yesterday the Indiana Supreme Court failed all Hoosiers by allowing the near-total abortion ban, SB1, to go into effect immediately. This terrible law unconscionably revokes basic human rights, denying women and all people capable of pregnancy the fundamental dignity and bodily autonomy that I believe is protected under the State constitution. Indiana’s state government – the legislature, the governor, and the court – empowered by the radical, activist US Supreme Court that overruled Roe v. Wade – have together conspired to take Hoosier women backward, no longer protected as equal residents under the law,” said Hamilton.

FILE: Abortion rights activists react after the Indiana Senate votes to ban abortion, inside the Indiana State House during a special session on August 5, 2022, in Indianapolis, Indiana. The legislature held a special session to ban abortion rights in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade in June.

However, starting Wednesday, August 23, 2023, in Bloomington, sleeping on sidewalks at any time, or pitching a closed tent in a public park becomes illegal. The parks and public works boards, lobbied by the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, recently passed these bans, saying they are an “aesthetics issue.” A man died freezing to death sleeping on a sidewalk on Christmas Eve 2020 after a night camping was banned in city parks, at the time, a daytime ban didn’t pass, but now it has, unanimously, with all four park board members voting in favor.

“We cannot solve the problem of being unhoused in Bloomington, and there should be more resources,” Bloomington Parks Board president Kathleen Mills said. “But we are here to make sure the parks properties are safe and accessible to everyone.”

FILE: December 24, 2020 – Bloomington, Indiana USA: JT Vanderburg was found dead after apparently succumbing to hypothermia near this park bench at Seminary Park Thursday. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
FILE: BLOOMINGTON, UNITED STATES – 2021/09/29: Robert “Pops” Downham remembers his friend JT Vanderburg during the Homeless Memorial Vigil, Wednesday, September 29, 2021, at the Monroe County Courthouse in Bloomington, Ind. Vanderburg was one of 32 area residents who died in the past year and were either unhoused or had been unhoused. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – AUGUST 21: On the first day of classes at Indiana University a man sleeps on the sidewalk at 7th and Walnut on August 21, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. The City of Bloomington will begin criminalizing sleeping on public sidewalks on Wednesday, August 23, 2023. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

The Indiana University Board of Trustees will meet, “August 24, 2023 at 9:00 AM EDT to August 25, 2023 at 11:15 AM EDT 900 E. 7th Street, Alumni Hall, Indiana Memorial Union Bloomington, IN 47408”

On the agenda, “d. Action Item: Approval is requested for an amendment to President

Whitten’s employment agreement.” No information is given on what that could be.

Also, on the agenda, the land where Poplars once stood will be leased for 60 years to BPIU Partners LLC for “a six-story, 158-unit university-affiliated housing project of approximately 193,000 gross square feet,” at a cost of 81 million dollars.

FILE: BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – JULY 2: Rainbow seen from Poplars Parking Garage on July 2, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
FILE: BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – FEBRUARY 19: Indiana University president Pamela Whitten celebrates with the women’s basketball team which clinched the regular season B1G title after an NCAA women’s basketball game against Purdue on February 19, 2023, at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana. IU beat Purdue 83-60. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

Bloomington remains one of the most expensive cities in Indiana to either buy or rent housing.

Members of the community are planning a protest against the new laws affecting the unhoused. The protest will be in Peoples Park Tuesday night.

FILE: BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – OCTOBER 4: Cedric Thompkins, who has been homeless since June 2022, pulls his possessions in a shopping cart past a car at a Tesla charging station on October 4, 2022, in Bloomington, Indiana. Thompkins said he doesn’t know where he will go after residents of the nearby homeless camp, where he was living, were evicted by the police. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

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