Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Saturday, June 15
The Indiana Daily Student

campus administration

LIVE UPDATES: Scenes from day four of Gaza encampment, protests on campus

protesto.jpg

For more recent coverage of the encampment, check out LIVE UPDATES: Scenes from day 9 of Gaza encampment, campus protests

10:50 p.m. in Dunn Meadow

caOBprotest042824-05.JPG

The Gaza encampment watches "Farha" on April 28, 2024, in Dunn Meadow in Bloomington. The movie told the story of the mass displacement of Palestinians during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

The protesters gather around a screen projecting the movie, “Farha.”

The movie tells a story about “The Nakba,” which is Arabic for “catastrophe.” The movie retells the story of the mass displacement of Palestinians during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. 

Aidan Khamis, president of the Palestine Solidarity Committee and a leading organizer of the encampment, said, “the genocide we are witnessing now is a continuation of The Nakba.”

While the movie played, protesters dribbled soccer balls and played badminton while others were sitting on blankets and tarps to watch the movie. 

The protesters plan to stay the night in Dunn Meadow despite the policy of no structures past 11 p.m. They also plan to stay at their encampment if it rains. 

The protesters zip-tied tarps around the edges of a canopy to cover the bucket which they have been using as a restroom.

Protesters broke into applause as the first person finished using the constructed toilet. 

Once the movie ended, the protesters packed up the screen and light conversation continued.

5:45 p.m. at Dunn Meadow

caOBprotest042824-01.jpg

The pro-Palestinian encampment is pictured in Dunn Meadow on April 28, 2024, in Bloomington. The protesters have been present in Dunn Meadow since Thursday, April 25.

IU’s Palestine Solidarity Committee posted a graphic to their Instagram calling for an indefinite walkout Monday “until Whitten resigns, IU divests, and ends Crane partnership.  

The PSC shares many of its goals and members with IU Divestment Coalition, the student organization officially associated with the encampment in Dunn Meadow.  

In its post, the PSC urged students and faculty at IU to walk out and refuse to go to class in solidarity with Palestine. 

“There is no ‘business as usual’ during a genocide,” one organizer in Dunn Meadow said.  

The PSC and IUDC have called for IU to divest from Israel and adhere to the guidelines of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, as well as ending its economic partnership with the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division in Crane, Indiana.  

IU announced a $111 million investment including partnership with Crane in October 2023. As part of the commitment, IU is investing $23.5 million to hire 25 faculty members in microelectronics, focusing on faculty with U.S. Department of Defense experience.    

It is unknown whether Crane is directly involved in the Israel-Hamas war. As of 2021, Crane is part of a research and development agreement with the Israeli defense company Smart Shooter, which focuses on increasing the accuracy of defenses against small, unmanned aircraft. 

The PSC demanded the resignation of Whitten, Executive Vice President Rahul Shrivastav, and Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs Carrie Docherty. 

Faculty overwhelmingly voted no confidence in Whitten, Shrivastav, and Docherty April 16.  

They also demand that IU open Muslim and Middle Eastern cultural centers. In January, Provost Shrivastav said that IU has been working on a Muslim cultural center for more than a year, though no specific details were announced.  

Organizers at the encampment said that they plan to remain at Dunn Meadow until their demands are met.  

5 p.m. 

Rick Van Kooten, executive dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, sent a statement via email to college faculty, graduate students and staff regarding the arrests in Dunn Meadow. 

“Many of us are struggling to determine how we can best support our students, faculty, and staff at this time – including our students and faculty who have been arrested,” the statement read. “This has been a stressful time for many in the College and on the Bloomington campus, myself included.” 

He urged faculty and graduate instructors to take students mental and emotional well-being into account as final exams week begins. 

Additionally, Van Kooten included information about how to appeal a campus ban, which he said was shared by the university. Trespass bans will be suspended during the appeals process in nearly all cases. He said once an appeal is submitted, it will go to IU President Pamela Whitten, and banned individuals will receive the outcome of the appeal in writing within 15 business days.  

He said students who received a campus ban can reach out to instructors about alternatives to taking in-person final exams, but it is up to each instructor whether they provide an alternative. 

Van Kooten also said members of the College can access mental health resources, including Timely Care, Counseling and Psychological Services, student advocates and the Student Care and Resource Center. 

3:30 p.m. in Dunn Meadow 

caliveupdates.jpg

A member of a group of instrumentalists plays a stringed instrument at the encampment in Dunn Meadow on April 28, 2024. The instrumentalists performed while speakers on the doorstep of Chabad played upbeat music.

A group of instrumentalists performed and sang “Bella Ciao,” a protest folk song, and many other songs on acoustic guitars, violins, a double bass and other instruments. 

Multiple speakers on Chabad’s doorstep played upbeat music. 

Protesters completed homework on laptops, read books and knitted while laying on tarps and grass. 

Two flags were placed in the ground. One is the Palestinian flag, and the other is an upside-down American flag with the words “no peace on stolen land” and the medicine wheel symbol written on it. 

The medicine wheel symbol is an ancient and sacred symbol used by many Native tribes to symbolize the interconnectivity between physical, emotional, mental and spiritual realities. 

caprotestflag042824

An upside-down American flag is pictured with "no peace on stolen land" and a medicine wheel drawn on it while protesters perform protest song "Bella Ciao" in the background. The medicine wheel is a symbol some Native tribes use to symbolize the interconnectivity between physical, emotional, mental and spiritual realities.

3:12 p.m. march from Dunn Meadow to downtown  

The protesters organized a march of 20-30 people to go downtown and chant near the International Festival happening on Fourth Street.  

As they walked out of Dunn Meadow, one protester handed out orange, blue, green and other color chalk to the others. As they marched, protesters wrote “free Palestine,” stop genocide” and “free Gaza,” on walls of buildings and on the sidewalk. 

They wrote outside of Urban Outfitters, Noodles & Company, Chipotle, Trinity Church Episcopal, Bru Burger, apartment complexes and other buildings. 

While marching, the protesters chanted phrases such as “disclose, divest, we will not stop we will not rest,” as well as “and Joe Biden you will see, Palestine will be free.”  

As they made their way down Kirkwood Avenue, various cars driving by honked and cheered.  

As they circled back toward Dunn Meadow, a few people standing across the street outside of Chipotle began booing the protesters. They followed them back to the Sample Gates before breaking off. 

When the marching protesters returned, those who stayed in Dunn Meadow cheered them on. 

3 p.m.

IU Media School faculty overwhelmingly condemned IU’s response to protests in an open letter Sunday, joining several other departments and schools in calling out the use of force to ensure compliance with an IU policy that was created just a day before the protests began. 

“The administration has crossed a red line by choosing an authoritarian stance that is antithetical to the mission of an institution of higher learning,” the open letter reads. 

The letter also mentions that at least one Media School student is among those injured by police as they pushed against crowds and dragged protesters out to be arrested. 

Protesters have camped out in Dunn Meadow before, the letter explains, but IU’s reaction is a first “in recent memory.” 

The letter touches on multiple university actions of the past few days and details how the action has violated IU’s most “cherished values.” The banning of students and faculty from campus is a violation of their due process rights, the letter claims, while the last-minute policy change banning tents the day before the protest violates the principles of shared governance and may qualify as unconstitutional content discrimination, risking financial loss for the administration as those affected file lawsuits.  

“As a faculty expressly charged with teaching our students about these values in the pursuit of journalism and other expressions of public communication, we strongly dissent from these anti-democratic acts,” the letter reads. “How can we instill respect for core principles of democratic life when our own administration fails to live up to them?” 

The letter specifically called for an end to police action and surveillance, an apology to and reinstatement of students and faculty who were banned from campus and restore the previous campus policy governing protests in Dunn Meadow. It also recommends an investigation into potential violations of faculty governance, academic freedom, freedom of expression and due process by the Bloomington Faculty Council so those responsible can be held accountable.  

“It is critical that we expose the root of this shameful chapter in IU’s history,” it reads.  

2:30 p.m. in Dunn Meadow

An IUPD officer approached a group of protesters on the sidewalk between 7th street and the encampment.

Elena Nissan Thomas, an IU student and one of the protesters, said the officer asked the group to take down flags and signs that were attached to “fixed structures.”

There were multiple flags and signs attached to the trees, light stands and the fence along the sidewalk.

Protesters took those signs down as the cop got back into his car and continued down the street.

12 p.m. in Dunn Meadow 

The protesters at the encampment began the morning with chants and marched. The cries of their pro-Palestinian demands mixed with the music playing from the Chabad House across the street. Afterwards, the protesters gathered around individuals speaking into a megaphone, who then moved to a speaker system with a mic. They shared words of encouragement and recounts from the day before. 

After all of the arrests, I felt really distraught. a protester said. 

They continued, stating that seeing everyone out today brought them hope. 

As students, we should not be centering ourselves, we should be centering the people of Gaza,” the protester said. 

The group of protesters expressed agreement with claps and cheers. 

Another walked to the mic and asked, “we made it to four days, can you believe it?” 

The crowd cheered in agreement, standing together at their re-instated encampment that had just been forcefully torn down the day before during April 27’s arrests. At their dispersal, a protester who had taught the crowd a group song began playing rhythms on the drums. With the sun shining and a light breeze, the protesters wait for whatever comes next. 

10:40 a.m. in Dunn Meadow

protesthw.jpg
IU student Esteban Perea studies for an economics final April 28, 2024, at Dunn Meadow in Bloomington. Perea spent all of Saturday night at the Gaza encampment.

Over 30 protesters spent their second night at the encampment with little disturbance from police or counter protesters.

The encampment grew to about 60 people as protesters arrived for the 11 a.m. rally. They sat on blankets and tarps scattered throughout Dunn Meadow, eating breakfast, working on their laptops and talking with friends.

Esteban Perea, an IU student and one of the group’s leaders, said there are always four people awake keeping watch throughout the night, but most protesters generally don’t get much sleep.

Perea then returned his attention to his laptop — he had to study for an economics final tomorrow.

10:38 a.m. through email 

Joanna Millunchick, Dean of the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, sent an email to faculty, staff and students saying that herself and the rest of the IU Bloomington deans are in communication with IU leadership and “imploring them to deescalate the tensions in Dunn Meadow.” 

In the email, Millunchick listed resources for students dealing with overwhelming emotions, exhaustion and “emotional turmoil.” She also called for the faculty to be flexible regarding assignments and exams during this time. 

10:36 a.m. through email  

Bloomington Mayor Kerry Thomson released a press release to clarify remarks made in a video regarding arrests made on campus, posted on the City of Bloomington Office of the Mayor Facebook page.  

According to the press release, when Thomson said not all routes to de-escalation were met, she was not talking about Bloomington police, but instead referring to the Indiana State Police, who IU called in to push protesters away from the encampments, for IU employees to “enforce their policy,” according to a police officer Saturday.  

“The purpose of my message yesterday was really intended to stand with the peaceful protesters and be clear that our police department – the Bloomington Police Department – would not be involved in advancing on the protesters,” the press release read. “In fact, they advised against any such action.” 

Thomson said in the release that she met with students involved in organizing the group for the protest and values their insights.  

“I hope that in the future, there will be greater communication and collaboration with our team when Indiana University undertakes actions that affect all of Bloomington, not just campus,” the release reads. “As I said yesterday, I stand with the protestors’ right to free speech, their right to assemble, and I ask that any future police involvement happens only when all de-escalation paths have been exhausted.” 

Around 10:30 a.m. online 

Indiana University Bloomington Faculty wrote a letter to The Indiana University Board of Trustees, Indiana University Alumni and Concerned Citizens of the State of Indiana and formed a petition demanding the immediate resignation or termination of President Whitten and Provost Shrivastav.  

“As faculty members of Indiana University Bloomington, we are appalled and ashamed by the militarized response to the peaceful campus protests against Israel’s war in Gaza,” the beginning of the letter reads. 

“Many of us have been direct witnesses as Indiana State Police brutalized and arrested unarmed students and fellow faculty colleagues holding an entirely peaceful rally on Dunn Meadow.” 

“The Ad Hoc Committee” decided Wednesday night, the night before the protests began, to rule against temporary or permanent structures on campus without advanced approval, overturning a 1969 decision to allow the use of temporary structures in Dunn Meadow without prior approval, forbidding them from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.  

An ad hoc committee is a temporary committee designed for a specific purpose.  

The faculty wrote that the policy change “was clearly done to disadvantage and discriminate against a group based on their viewpoint, violating well-established First Amendment law.” 

This show of faculty dissonance from President Whitten and Provost Shrivastav’ decisions is the latest in a string of what faculty called in the petition “shameful display” of their “ineptitude and lack of moral compass” and follows the 93% no confidence vote from 900 voting faculty members. 

As of 10:56 a.m., the petition had 119 signatures.  

For more recent coverage of the encampment, check out LIVE UPDATES: Day 8 of Gaza encampment, campus protests

8:40 a.m. through email 

The Media School Dean, David Tolchinsky, and Associate Dean Radhika Parameswaran sent an email to faculty, staff and graduate students, expressing gratitude for student media and The Arnolt Center for Investigative Journalists. They also wrote to support “scholars of media and creators of media.” 

“We are actively engaging in discussions with central administration to ensure that our values of free expression and peaceful demonstration are not only upheld but also respected,” the email reads. 

Due to the emotional toll the past few days of protests have taken on students, they requested faculty be flexible with assignments and exams during the end of this semester. 

Get stories like this in your inbox
Subscribe