Indiana University: Committee Changes Tents Policy on Eve of Planned Protest


Indiana University - Bloomington

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Case Overview

On April 25, 2024, when protestors arrived at Indiana University’s Dunn Meadow for a planned Gaza solidarity protest, they learned that a committee of IU administrators had met overnight to covertly ban use of tents without prior approval. This change presented a departure from historical policy, which designated Dunn Meadow as an “assembly ground” for student and faculty free expression where tents had traditionally been allowed. The university later admitted it changed the policy in anticipation of fears about the viewpoints that the protestors might express. To enforce the policy, IU sent snipers and police armed with assault weapons, riot gear, and pepper spray, resulting in the arrest of more than 30 protestors. Many protestors were charged with criminal trespass and suspended from campus. FIRE wrote IU on May 3, reminding the university that time, place, and manner restrictions cannot be enacted to target a particular viewpoint, nor may they be selectively enforced based on a speaker’s viewpoint, and such policy changes should be issued with enough notice to enable compliance.