Dunn Meadow through the ages


Students gather in protest of the U.S. involvement in the Cuban Missile Crisis. IDS file photo Buy Photos

In 1962, the IU Board of Trustees designated Dunn Meadow as the only space on campus for spontaneous free speech. The trustees might have tried to do students a favor by giving them a space to express themselves, but by designating free speech, they also limited it. This timeline shows just a glimpse of how different groups and cultures have used the meadow from 1962 to the present and how each expressed their own wishes and remembrances in a single, historical space. Access the complete timeline of Dunn Meadow at idsnews.com/dunnmeadow.

Oct. 24, 1962 — Cuban missile crisis march

Thousands of students demonstrating their support for then-President John F. Kennedy’s involvement with the naval blockade of Cuba were met by pro-Cuban protesters from the Ad Hoc Committee to Oppose U.S. Aggression in Cuba during a march prior to the designation of Dunn Meadow as a free speech zone.

April 14, 1986 — Shantytown arrives

Shantytown was a way for students to protest the trustees’ policy toward divestment. Two-dozen students armed with splintered boards, cardboard boxes and cans of spray paint built the shantytown, manned in shifts by the protestors.

Dec. 12, 1989 — El Salvador crosses

Seventy-seven white crosses protesting United States’ involvement in El Salvador were removed by members of the Committee for Democracy in Latin America after a weeklong demonstration in Dunn Meadow.

June 4, 1990 — Middle East March

Protesting the wave of violence in the Middle East, about 40 Palestinian and Arab students and their supporters marched from campus to the Bloomington Courthouse to show support for the intifada uprising in Israel.

Sept. 13, 2000 — Bob Knight’s final speech

An estimated 6,000 people crowded into Dunn Meadow, its surrounding sidewalks and roofs of nearby buildings to hear former IU basketball coach Bob Knight’s farewell speech. The coach had been fired two days earlier.

Nov 5, 2003 — Anti-Affirmative Action bake sale

A group known as the Committee of Freedom set up show for an anti-Affirmative Action bake sale, which charged different amounts for baked goods based upon a students race and gender. White men paid $1, white women paid 75 cents, Hispanic customers paid 50 cents and black customers paid a quarter.

Nov. 17, 2009 — Transgender Day of Remembrance

Mourners gathered in a makeshift graveyard for an event organized by the National Organization for Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals at IU. Tombstones stood in remembrance of the 119 people worldwide who were killed for their gender expression in the last year.

Sept. 22, 2011 — Shine 4 Lauren Awareness Concert

Students, residents, volunteers and IU employees packed in close to the stage as rain fell during this concert for missing IU student Lauren Spierer. At least 20 student organizations planned the event to remind people of Spierer, who was last seen in June of that year.

April 13, 2016 — Mass shooting victims vigil

IU organizations Students Against Gun Violence and IU Democrats had a small and intimate gathering to honor the 73 victims of mass shootings at that time in 2016. Attendees decorated posters and care cards for the survivors and read the names of the victims under candlelight.

October 13, 2016 — Take Back the Night

Students and community members gathered in Dunn Meadow to march and advocate for survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse. The annual event was planned by the IU Feminists Student Association and included poetry readings and speakers.

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