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Saturday, June 15
The Indiana Daily Student

campus administration

IU Board of Trustees affirm support for President Whitten in new statement

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The IU Board of Trustees expressed support for President Pamela Whitten in a statement released Wednesday. 

They also expressed gratitude for faculty, staff and other constituents who have shared concerns with them and want to address them “in a proactive and effective manner.” 

“Our direct conversations with President Whitten and her leadership team make it clear that they, too, understand the challenges and are also committed to paving a productive path forward,” the statement read. “The Board of Trustees will provide all resources necessary to address these issues in a transparent and accountable fashion.” 

The statement also said the board has asked Whitten to commission an independent review of the “campus climate.” The statement did not clarify who will conduct the review or what the review process will entail. 

“With strong leadership, President Whitten has guided our university to many positive accomplishments under adverse conditions and continues to enjoy our support,” the statement read. “We are confident she can and will rise to this challenge.” 

The statement comes one day after the board met virtually in a previously-unscheduled executive session meeting Tuesday to discuss either “initiation of litigation or litigation that is either pending or has been threatened specifically in writing” against the university. The meeting was closed to the public and open only to board members and invited participants. The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a lawsuit May 3 against the board and President Pamela Whitten to challenge campus bans for three plaintiffs who were arrested during the pro-Palestinian protests April 25 and April 27.   

It also comes amidst listening sessions between Whitten and IU faculty. Whitten and members of the College of Arts and Sciences faculty met Tuesday in the Indiana Memorial Union’s Federal Room and faced backlash from pro-Palestinian protesters. The protesters were threatened with arrest for chanting inside the IMU. 

Whitten is scheduled to meet with faculty from the School of Education on Thursday. Mark Bode, IU executive director of media relations, provided the following statement to the IDS on Tuesday about the listening sessions:  

“President Whitten has heard the feedback of members of the IU community and has committed to listening and learning through ongoing meetings with faculty and staff.” 

On April 16, faculty overwhelmingly passed votes of no confidence in Whitten, Provost Rahul Shrivastav and Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs Carrie Docherty.  

IU convened an “ad hoc committee” to create a new policy prohibiting the unapproved use of structures, including tents, in Dunn Meadow the day before the start of the pro-Palestinian encampment April 25. Then, under the direction of IU administration, Indiana State Police and IU Police arrested 57 protesters April 25 and 27. Following these events, numerous IU faculty called on Whitten and Shrivastav’s resignations or removal through votes and statements. 

One of the three Board of Trustees positions elected by IU alumni will be up for election in June. Any IU degree holder can vote online or by paper between 12:01 a.m. June 1 and 10 a.m. June 28. 

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