IU School of Social Work Faculty Senate unanimously denounces IU administration


We, the Faculty Senate of the Indiana University School of Social Work, are distributing this statement through Indiana news media due to it being denied publication through official School and/or University channels. We seek to ensure our students, staff, faculty, and the greater Indiana community are aware of our concerns about the recent events in Bloomington and our support for academic freedom uninhibited by university suppression. The suppression of our statement further demonstrates how Indiana University’s administration continues to erode individuals’ rights to engage in thoughtful dialogue.

IUSSW Faculty Senate Statement regarding the recent events at Indiana University

Passed Unanimously by the Indiana University School of Social Work Faculty Senate
May 1, 2024

The Indiana University School of Social Work faculty affirm academic freedom and the freedom of speech and protest for students, staff, faculty, and community members. That Indiana University met free speech and peaceful protest with violent action by police wearing military gear is unacceptable. The use of violence traumatized our students and faculty and only taught that disagreement leads to fear, repression, and marginalization. The armed police presence on the roof of the Memorial Union also risked their lives, as the history of our neighbor, Kent State University (May 4, 1970), has taught us.

IUSSW faculty fully embrace our Palestinian, Israeli, and interfaith students and colleagues and mourn the losses of all of those affected by war and senseless death and destruction. We acknowledge the pains of the current conflict and the turmoil it has caused. We aim for a campus free of Islamophobia, antisemitism, and all forms of hate speech. And we further respect the diversity of views such a situation engenders. Divergent views and healthy, nonviolent debate are core aspects of democracy and how we demonstrate respect for the humanity of all affected persons.

We are a global village and value justice, inclusion, and peace. We implore IU leadership to value peaceful resolution and de-escalation of conflictual concerns rather than taking violent action. Arresting students, faculty, and staff who were not violent or preventing or blocking university business is unconscionable. We are even further alarmed by the clear disparities in police actions toward minoritized students. The individual and collective trauma endured by our students, faculty, and staff over the past week will have long-lasting repercussions.

Educators seek to teach social justice, social responsibility, respect for human and civil rights, and the necessity of protecting the dignity of all persons through compassion, love, and service. Yet, teaching requires leading by example. We cannot teach core social values when our university administration’s actions directly contradict such lessons.

We call on the IU administration to allow all sanctioned students, faculty, and staff to return to campus without the necessity of appeal. They should not be punished because of an overreaction by the university and the police. The IUSSW faculty recommend that the new policy about the use of Dunn Meadow adopted by the new “ad hoc committee” on Wed April 24, 2024 be withdrawn immediately. We demand that the IU administration treat students, staff, and faculty who protest on campus with respect and dignity Let us de-escalate our current climate of violence with a plan to come together for justice, inclusion, peace, and the right to education. Let us be leaders for good, not for oppression.