BLOOMINGTON – The Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus issued the following statement in response to ongoing news of heavy police presence during peaceful demonstrations at Indiana University: 

“What we are seeing on the news and hearing from firsthand accounts gives us great concern that First Amendment Rights and even personal safety could be at risk on the Indiana University Campus. While we understand this is a fluid situation we still worry about the sheer amount of police in riot gear, including snipers, called in to manage what has been reported as a peaceful protest.  

“We are concerned for the safety of students, faculty and staff and for their ongoing rights to free speech. Students should be able to voice their views on campus in non-violent ways without fear of retribution. The First Amendment is one of the founding blocks to a successful democracy and this infringement on demonstration, in our opinion, is a violation of both state and federal constitutional rights. 

“The widespread reporting of the administration suddenly changing a decades-long policy that has allowed for peaceful demonstrations, even overnight demonstrations, is cause for concern. This is a policy that has protected free speech for students, faculty and staff throughout protests in opposition to controversial issues like the Vietnam War, apartheid in South Africa, the Gulf War and more. We ask Indiana University to immediately take actions to return peace and safety to campus and restore the right to protest peacefully to all who study or work there. 

“In the meantime, we call on Indiana University to immediately deescalate the situation and ask all police to leave room for peaceful protesting. The wellbeing and rights of all students, faculty and staff must be protected.”