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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.