Indiana University Archives Exhibits

Protest regarding illegal immigrants and making IU a "sanctuary campus" disrupts speech by Lauren Robel

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Title Protest regarding illegal immigrants and making IU a "sanctuary campus" disrupts speech by Lauren Robel
Description An article by Michael Reschke of the Bloomington Herald Times dated March 8, 2017 and found at the following URL: reads, in full: "A new initiative to help rural Indiana counties was supposed to be the highlight of the 2017 Indiana University state of the campus address Tuesday afternoon. But before Provost Lauren Robel could get there, a group of about a dozen people marched to the lectern in Franklin Hall and unfurled a blue cloth with white letters that read “Sanctuary campus now!” Students across the country have called on college and university administrators to declare their campuses sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants after President Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 election. There is no legal definition of a sanctuary campus, but it generally refers to policies that limit cooperation with federal immigration enforcement agents. No colleges or universities in Indiana have made such a declaration, but a bill preventing them from doing so is moving through the Indiana General Assembly. Robel had been speaking for about 10 minutes when the group made its way to the front of the room. Robel paused while the group positioned itself between her and the crowd, the blue cloth hiding the lectern, as IU police officers stood off to the side. Robel resumed her speech, which outlined the university’s efforts to increase diversity at the Bloomington campus. The group stood silently for about 15 minutes. As Robel discussed a regular celebration of arts and humanities on the campus called First Thursdays, one of the demonstrators interrupted to ask if she would cooperate with immigration enforcement agents. 'We can have this conversation if you want right after this,' Robel said before being interrupted by another demonstrator. After repeating her offer, Robel said she felt the campus has moved very strongly to protect students. When one of the demonstrators asked for clarification, Robel said she has made that presentation numerous times. At that point, IU Media School Professor Barbara Cherry stood up and asked the group to allow Robel to continue. 'You have been given the floor; you have attended a number of (Bloomington Faculty Council) meetings; you’ve been addressed and been spoken to,' Cherry said. 'The provost has explained the position of the university and all the different ways in which they’re trying to protect students and faculty from being adversely affected by some activities in Washington, and I do think the university and the provost and everybody here deserves respect and that she be permitted to finish her address without interference.' Cheers and applause from the crowd followed Cherry’s statement, but when the noise subsided one of the demonstrators started speaking again. At that point, IU Police Department Capt. Andy Stephenson asked the group to leave. Robel stepped away from the lectern until the group eventually filed out of the room. After a brief discussion with Stephenson in the lobby, the demonstrators left the building. Robel resumed her speech, which culminated in the announcement that the Lilly Endowment Inc. has given IU a planning grant to consider how IU might address important issues, such as poverty and lack of economic opportunity, affecting rural America. Conversations on that topic over the past year led to a proposal for a Center for Rural Excellence. Its signature effort will be the Indiana 11 Initiative, which will use IU’s resources to solve entrenched and emerging challenges facing rural communities in the 11 counties of southwest central Indiana. The center will partner with members of those communities to inform those efforts. 'Since I visited these counties, our campus has received almost 100 requests to partner with us, from every county, and in fields ranging from sustainability and health to arts and humanities, in ways that would help the region and resonate with our core research and teaching missions,' Robel said. Visibly flustered after the speech, Robel said more details about the center will be released soon."
Creator Jackson, Jason Baird
Date March 17, 2017
Format Photograph
Language English


Jackson, Jason Baird, “Protest regarding illegal immigrants and making IU a "sanctuary campus" disrupts speech by Lauren Robel,” Indiana University Archives Exhibits, accessed September 28, 2021,