Press release: IGWC, Faculty Rapid Response Group, Jewish Voice for Peace Indiana, and IU Divestment Coalition Co-Host Rally and Press IU to Divest

The following was sent to the Bloomingtonian:




BLOOMINGTON, Ind.—On Friday, June 14th, IU students, faculty, staff, and members of the
Bloomington community rallied both inside and outside the Board of Trustees meeting with one
clear demand: terminate Pamela Whitten as President of IU. With repeated calls for Whitten’s
termination and divestment from military investments, the rally caused so much disruption that
the Trustees adjourned the meeting.
The event, hosted by Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition (IGWC), the Faculty Rapid Response
Group, Jewish Voice for Peace Indiana, and the IU Divestment Coalition, brought together
diverse voices who no longer trust President Whitten’s ability to run the university. Faculty
members called out Whitten’s erosion of tenure, attacks on academic freedom, use of violence
on campus, and discriminatory enforcement of questionable policies. Students derided Whitten
forusing university funding to invest in companies that profit from Israel’s genocidal actions in
“Through its partnerships with Crane, a weapons manufacturer, IU is actively supporting the
worst human rights violation of this century,” IU Divestment Coalition member Bryce Greene
said. “This has to be addressed.”
Speakers expressed outrage that the damage Whitten has done to IU’s 200 year reputation will
dramatically damage our ability to attract top quality faculty and students, leading to a decline in
both funding and respect for the excellence of IU’s degrees.
Others pointed to Whitten’s record as a sign that she is not the right person to lead the
university into the future.
“SEA 202, which goes into effect here on July 1, will effectively end tenure, institute a
surveillance system that targets instructors of color, and initiate a Florida style witch-hunt on
diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Russ Skiba, Professor Emeritus of the School of Education.

“We need a serious leader who can protect faculty and students from the harms 202 will bring.
Time and again, from her failure to protect Dr. Caitlin Bernard to the racially suspect targeting of
a Black leader of the encampment, Bryce Greene, President Whitten has shown she is not
interested in protecting civil and human rights. It is time for the Trustees to find a leader more in
tune with the needs and values of the IU community.”
Still, rally participants were pleased to have affected the Trustees’ meeting.
“It’s clear they hear us,” said Matthew Rodriguez, a graduate worker and organizer of the event.
“Now, they need to listen. We have not asked for additional committees, administrators, or
trust-building exercises. We have asked that the Trustees terminate Pamela Whitten’s
The IGWC led the charge in calling for Whitten’s resignation when the union passed a vote of no
confidence in the administration back in February. A dozen graduate student associations, along
with the Graduate and Professional Student Government, passed similar resolutions before the
Bloomington Faculty Council followed suit in their landslide April 16 vote.
President Whitten’s fiscal mismanagement, almost continual conflict with faculty and students,
and arbitrary and unconstitutional attacks on free expression have led to no-confidence votes,
calls for her resignation, and condemnation from virtually every academic unit at IUB. Yet
administrators are scrambling to shore up confidence in Whitten: hiring outside investigations,
making calls for shared governance that Whitten and her administration has undermined, or
creating entirely new administrative positions intended to act as liaisons between the
administration and members of the community.
“These strategies are a farce,” another IGWC organizer Elijah Beaton said. “Organizations
across campus have made it clear that there can be no improvement until Whitten is removed
from office. Today the Board of Trustees decided not only to allow Whitten to continue damaging
IU as its President, but even applauded Whitten’s ‘bold initiatives.’ They had the power and the
platform to make the right decision. We expect better from IU’s highest level of administration
than to applaud a President who received 93% votes of no confidence and who has made IU a
national embarrassment.”
The coalition building of today’s rally is indicative that many are ready to see new leadership
and a restoration of IU’s reputation.
“Indiana University is a serious and highly respected institution, both in our state and nationally,”
said Anne Kavalerchik from Jewish Voice for Peace Indiana. “It’s time to end the chaos that
Whitten has brought to this campus and replace her with the leadership IU deserves.”

ABOUT IGWC (—The IGWC was founded in 2019 to advocate for
graduate workers with the primary purpose of eliminating exorbitant fees and increasing pay.
IGWC actions, including a massive four-week strike in the Spring of 2022, successfully brought
an end to the fees and forced the IU administration to shift funds into graduate education,

significantly improving the lives of graduate employees in Bloomington. There are
approximately 2,400 SAA graduate employees on the Bloomington campus. Graduate workers
are employed as Associate Instructors, Research Assistants, Graduate Assistants, and Adjuncts.
Others are employed on an hourly basis. They teach hundreds of courses as primary instructors,
conduct research in labs, and perform as artists and musicians.
For further questions and correspondence, contact Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition
media correspondent, David Garner ([email protected]).

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