Apr 30, 2024 - News

Hundreds protest at IU's Dunn Meadow

College campuses with reported encampments or sit-ins related to the war in Gaza
Data: Axios research; Note: Universities with joint encampments reported separately; Locations approximated for clarity; Map: Kavya Beheraj, Tory Lysik and Will Chase/Axios

Hundreds gathered on the IU Bloomington campus for peaceful protests Monday, continuing the pro-Palestinian demonstrations that saw police and protesters clash over the last week.

Why it matters: University administrations across the country have cracked down on student demonstrators in unprecedented ways as protests grow in size and intensity, leading to hundreds of arrests on at least 15 college campuses across the nation, including IU.

  • The majority of arrests have occurred at encampments and sit-ins. Dozens of smaller-scale college protests haven't seen altercations between demonstrators and police.

State of play: Students are demanding that their universities divest from businesses that have financial ties to Israel and those that are supporting the war in Gaza.

Zoom in: Demonstrations in Bloomington started last Thursday at Dunn Meadow, a grassy 20-acre clearing on the southwest corner of IU's campus.

  • A last-minute policy change prohibited the use of temporary structures in the area without prior approval, though they'd previously been allowed outside the hours of 11pm to 6am.
  • 33 protestors were arrested in clashes with police Thursday as they cleared encampments set up by the IU Divestment Coalition, according to the Indiana Daily Student.
  • A second encampment lasted through Friday night into Saturday, when police again cleared the tents and arrested another 23 people.

The latest: The university said it will allow temporary structures — like the tent encampments taken down over the weekend — with university approval for renewable 48-hour stretches.

  • "The events of recent days have been difficult, disturbing and emotional," IU president Pamela Whitten wrote, arguing officials are seeking a balance between safety and free speech.
  • Whitten said "antisemitic episodes have been linked to this national encampment campaign," though no specific threats or antisemitic incidents in Bloomington were detailed.

What we're watching: How Whitten and provost Rahul Shrivastav respond to growing crowds and criticism of the university's handling of the situation — including the decision to call in state police to help clear the encampments and campus bans for those arrested.

  • Already under pressure from a no-confidence vote by faculty last week, a rally calling for their resignations was held Monday amid the ongoing pro-Palestine demonstrations.

Go deeper: Photos of the weekend's clashes at Dunn Meadow


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