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Protesters disrupt IU Board of Trustees meeting


Protesters disrupt IU Board of Trustees meeting 

JUNE 18, 2024

It was organized by the IU Divestment Coalition, Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition, Jewish Voice for Peace Indiana and the IU Faculty Rapid Response Group. They gathered outside for a rally to demand the board terminate IU President Pamela Whitten’s presidency.  

Protesters began to convene outside around 9 a.m., and 20 minutes into the start of the meeting, they started to chant. At its peak, the outdoor protest had about 60 participants. Protesters wore stickers reading “no confidence” and carried signs, including one that read, “Whitten resign.” 

Several demonstrators outside gave short speeches using the megaphone. They called for Whitten to be fired from her position over a variety of grievances and reminded the crowd that the IU Board of Trustees has the authority to terminate her five-year contract at any time.  

Other protesters outside described their experiences during the arrests that took place at Dunn Meadow on April 25 and 27. They spoke on being detained and even injured by police while being arrested.  

IU professor emeritus Russ Skiba said over the megaphone that IU needs a president who will defend the university against SEA 202, which will increase state legislative oversight on Indiana’s public universities and change criteria for tenure. It takes effect July 1. 

IU professor Heather Akou, who was arrested in Dunn Meadow on April 27, described her experience and criticized police at other pro-Palestine protests around the country. She said she felt as both a professor and a human being, that she had a responsibility to speak up.  

“I can’t work in these conditions, and I trust that you feel the same,” Akou said. 


A protester yells out during a rally calling for the termination of IU President Pamela Whitten outside the Board of Trustees meeting June 14, 2024, at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington. At its peak, around 60 protesters attended the rally outside. IU-Bloomington to add chancellor and faculty fellow positions

Around 10 pro-Palestine protesters sat inside Henke Hall with signs, including ones that read, “IU: Divest from Crane” and “History is watching.” When Whitten began to deliver her report to the board, protesters in the audience started to stand up one at a time and shouted statements condemning IU’s partnership with Naval Surface Warfare Center – Crane Division and IU’s decision to send Indiana State Police to arrest protesters April 25 and 27. 

“Ma’am, the trustees don’t condone that,” trustees chair Quinn Buckner said regarding the first protester shouting. 

Officials escorted all protesters who shouted outside. 

According to the rules for trustees meeting attendees, people may not disrupt the meeting with noisemakers, demonstrations or chanting. 

After three more protesters shouted, Buckner asked protesters to refrain from shouting.  

“We don’t disrespect each other this way, so I please ask that you refrain from standing with your statements,” Buckner said. “If you’ve got a sign, that’s great. But standing and interrupting another human being is not the way to solve any of the problems.” 


Protesters holding signs chant “Free, free Palestine” after others were escorted out for interrupting the Board of Trustees meeting with speeches June 14, 2024, inside Henke Hall in Bloomington. Outside, other protesters gathered as a protest organized by the grad union and could be heard inside the room during the meeting, as well.

Whitten resumed after Buckner’s statement, and then another protester stood and shouted. Buckner then said the remainder of Whitten’s remarks would be added to the meeting’s minutes. Chairs of the University Faculty Council then began their reports to the board. Protesters continued to intermittently interrupt the speakers. 

Around 10:10 a.m., Buckner announced he would be adjourning the meeting. 

“I’m going to adjourn this meeting. We’re going to move because we have business to do,” Buckner said. “I get what others are feeling, I get it, but we need to do business, and I want to make sure you’re heard.” 

The trustees, Whitten, UFC chairs and other officials moved into a different room and resumed around 15 minutes later, livestreaming their discussion into Henke Hall.  

“To ensure IU’s campuses consistently welcome the freedom of expression, we have long applied conditions related to the time, place and manner of such displays to ensure the safety of the campus community and the continuity of our academic mission,” IU Executive Director for Media Relations Mark Bode said in a statement to the Indiana Daily Student. “Because today’s demonstration clearly disrupted that mission, the meeting was reconvened in a different room and live-streamed to the attending public to allow the Board of Trustees to continue the business of the university. The Board was undeterred and carried on with a productive agenda for the people of Indiana.”