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

campus student life

Office of Admissions temporarily pauses Discover IU guided campus tours due to pro-Palestine protesters, will deploy IUPD officers to assist tours starting May 31

catourprotests053024.jpg

IU public safety officials will deploy IU Police officers to assist Discover IU guided campus tours starting Friday, an IU spokesperson told the Indiana Daily Student Thursday. 

This follows the IU Office of Admissions temporarily pausing Discover IU guided campus tours due to pro-Palestine protesters Wednesday. 

Discover IU tours are for prospective students and their families. Office of Admissions Senior Assistant Director Rafael Cronin sent a message to student ambassadors Wednesday, which was obtained by the IDS, announcing the temporary pause. 

Cronin said admissions leadership made the decision after protesters began yelling over ambassadors and walking beside tour groups. He wrote that the Office of Admissions would conduct virtual tours with a slideshow and a student panel Wednesday, which is their standard protocol when an on-campus guided tour is canceled, he wrote. 

Cronin wrote protesters have demonstrated with tour groups for months, but the office made the decision to pause tours due to the accumulation of the protests. 

“The accumulation of this activity reached a point where The Office of Admissions decided to alter the course of action based on the best interest of the visitors along with the safety and wellness of ambassadors too,” Cronin wrote. 

Cronin claimed protesters are not allowed to physically or verbally interfere with tours, or directly follow a group. Even with IU Police present, protesters continued to violate those rules, “which brought unease to some visitors,” he wrote.  

According to IU’s First Amendment policy, the exercise of free speech on campus must not interfere with or substantially disrupt scheduled programs or events, the normal or scheduled use of university property or the functioning of the university. 

IU students violating the policy may be subject to the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct, which could result in a conduct record, the spokesperson said.  

Additionally, the IU spokesperson said protesters who disrupt admissions tours “may be detained, arrested and face criminal charges depending on the nature of the disruption.” 

IUPD will “assist tour groups and provide warnings and enforce campus policies if necessary” starting Friday, the spokesperson said. 

“IU remains committed to upholding free speech while protecting the safety of the campus community,” the spokesperson said. 

*** 

It’s currently not clear how or if IUPD’s presence at the tours will change Friday. IU Public Safety Communications Manager Mary Keck was not immediately able to provide a comment with clarification. 

Both Cronin’s message to ambassadors and a Discover IU student ambassador, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of backlash from protesters, said IUPD officers have already been present in the area where tours take place. The ambassador said officers did not follow alongside the tours. 

The ambassador said they and many other ambassadors don’t believe the protesters are their enemies, and the ambassador supports many of the protesters’ causes.  

They said before giving a tour, they try to explain to guests why the protesters are demonstrating so they aren’t perceived in a negative light. 

However, the ambassador said they started to feel uncomfortable when protesters began yelling over them and getting in their personal space in tours in months past. Before, protesters had only been following alongside groups silently, they said. 

“I believe in a lot of what they are saying,” the student ambassador said. “But I also love being a tour guide, and I want to return to that in a way that both parties can be happy.” 

In response to student ambassadors’ concerns, IUPD officers were made available in the area where the tours take place. The anonymous student ambassador, though, said this solution helps no one.  

“It makes very few people feel safe,” they said. “It does not make the protesters feel safe, it certainly doesn’t make our guests feel safe and it doesn’t make me feel safe because I’ve never seen them do anything except for march on the protesters when the liberated zone was first set up." 

IUPD, along with Indiana State Police, arrested 57 protesters April 25 and 27 in the Dunn Meadow encampment, which protesters named “the liberated zone.” 

A spokesperson for the IU Divestment Coalition, which organized the encampment, said the demonstrations alongside tours have been aimed at educating prospective students about the school they are considering.  

They said although they were encouraged that their actions were “heard and felt” by IU, they are disappointed the university has not communicated with them about their concerns and demands.  

These demands include the university divest from Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division — a U.S. naval installation southwest of Bloomington; the resignation of IU President Pamela Whitten, Provost Rahul Shrivastav and Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs Carrie Docherty; IU’s adherence to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement — meaning the university would wholly financially divest from Israel; full financial transparency from the university; and the creation of Muslim and Middle Eastern cultural centers at IU.   

Get stories like this in your inbox
Subscribe