Press release: Citing Unprovoked Violence Against Students, Nearly 1000 Indiana University Bloomington Faculty Call for Immediate Resignations of President, Provost

The following was sent to the Bloomingtonian:

For Immediate Release

Citing Unprovoked Violence Against Students, Nearly 1000 Indiana University Bloomington Faculty Call for Immediate Resignations of President, Provost

In an open letter, nearly 1000 Indiana University Bloomington faculty are calling for the immediate resignation or termination of IU President Pamela Whitten and Provost Rahul Shrivastav. The letter comes in response to a militarized, unnecessarily aggressive reaction against students and faculty in Dunn Meadow on Thursday, April 25 and Saturday, April 27. Many of the signers directly witnessed Indiana State Police (ISP) as they brutalized and arrested unarmed students and fellow faculty during a peaceful rally. 

It was the President and Provost who called the ISP to campus. State police arrived in full riot gear, bearing automatic weapons, carrying tear gas and batons, and positioning snipers on the rooftop of the Indiana Memorial Union. Faculty watched in horror as students and colleagues were beaten to the ground and hogtied, despite their lack of resistance. 

IUB Professor of Anthropology Sarah Phillips responded to her arrest: “How the university administration could see fit to unleash such an intentional use of force on students exercising their right to freely assemble and peacefully protest–and on faculty supporting students to preserve those rights–is simply beyond comprehension. This is not the IU we all know and love.”

These police actions took place after the President and Provost overturned a 55-year old IUB policy, under which Dunn Meadow had been a dedicated site of free speech and peaceful protest. The change  in policy by an “ad hoc committee” hours before the protest may violate the First Amendment. 

IUB Professor Ben Robinson, one of the faculty arrested along with the students, stated, “What kind of administration would do that—replace well-established policy for the sole purpose of allowing them to bring a militarized force to our campus to violently assault their own students and faculty?”

The administration’s mismanagement and aggression comes after a no-confidence vote in the President and Provost by IUB faculty only a week earlier. These actions have created an atmosphere of chaos and fear on campus. 

The open letter concludes, “The President’s and Provost’s decision to authorize unprovoked, violent, armed attacks on the very students and faculty they are supposed to protect proves without question that they have neither the administrative competence nor the basic human decency required to lead this campus and university.

“We demand that President Whitten and Provost Shrivastav resign immediately or be terminated.”

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