Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

How Tuition Played A Part In The Protest At The IU Trustees Meeting

Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana

A protestor sits on the floor as Indiana University police officers monitor roughly two dozen people, mostly students. They were occupying a meeting of the IU Trustees on the Bloomington campus. At the time of this photograph, the trustees were adjourned for a break before their second committee of the day.

Concerned about increasing tuition and questioning the legitimacy of Indiana University’s top governing body, roughly two dozen protestors — mostly students — ‘occupied’ a meeting of the school’s Board of Trustees on the Bloomington campus Thursday afternoon.

Though the meeting was stopped at one point to allow student trustee Cora Griffin directly address the protestors, university spokesperson Mark Land says the board continued its meeting as the group chanted.

Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana

Protestors 'occupy' a meeting of the IU Board of Trustees, demanding lower tuition and questioning the governing body's authority.

“It’s been a little challenging. The noise level is higher than usual, but I think we’ve been able to get through the business at hand,” Land said.

Group members variously aired grievances about administrator pay, the university’s coal power plant, and about what they said was a lack of a student voice in university government.

The group Occupy Bloomington tweeted about the protest.

Among the group’s grievances that should be familiar to StateImpact readers: the rising cost of attending school.

“The university is becoming unaffordable for working class and less privileged, poor people,” protestor and IU sophomore Nick Greven said.

Greven pointed to this year’s 5.5 percent increase in students’ costs of attending school. That increase in costs comes from a university-wide tuition increase coupled with new mandatory building fees the university says are necessary to address a backlog of building projects.

UPDATED: An earlier version of this post stated the student organization Coal Free IU “sent out a press release after the protest saying they would return to Friday’s meeting as well.” To clarify, while the group’s spokesperson stated several members are also active in the Occupy movement, Coal Free IU did not organize the sit-in protest. The press release they sent was for an earlier event that did not disrupt the trustees meeting, described here. They will hold a similar protest, not an ‘occupation’, on Friday.


  • Intothewild Ab

    To be clear, Coal Free IU was not a part of today’s occupation of the trustee meeting but instead held a separate event in the morning and will be holding the same event tomorrow morning as well.

    • kystokes

      Thanks for checking in. You may have to help me clarify further. “A part” is different than “organizing” the occupation, and I can update the post to clarify that Coal Free IU didn’t organize it. But the coal plant was among the list of grievances drawn up as the group met. Was that done without the involvement of any Coal Free IU students — were they Coal Free IU students acting in their own capacity, not on behalf of the group? Can you help draw distinctions here?


  • Megan

    Coal Free IU was NOT at all affiliated with the occupy movement and had a separate story board presentation, not a protest earlier that morning within the Indiana Memorial Union. We recognize the authority of the IU Board of Trustees and respect their policies. This is an inaccurate portrayal of Coal Free IU’s interactions with the Board of Trustees today.

    • kystokes

      Thanks for commenting. It must be noted again that the original post did not explicitly say Coal Free IU organized the occupation, but upon second reading, the context for the sentence I highlight in the clarification above carried a vague implication the organization did organize it. I regret this unintended implication, as I understand CFIU didn’t organize the occupation. The clarification makes this point clear. The clarification is based upon a phone conversation with a lead contact for the group listed on the press release.

      Broadly, I should add the issue of who organizes Occupy events has been a difficult question for anyone to try to answer. From the perspective as the proverbial ‘middle man’ — between university officials, those involved in the occupation, and those who were present at the meeting in other varying capacities — I was caught in the middle of miscommunications between these three parties about who was involved with what.

      I’m happy to field any further questions in this forum, or out of the comment section at I’m also open to any further clarifications anyone would like to post in this comments section.

  • Coal Free IU Student

    As a member of Coal Free IU who attended the meeting today, I can attest to the fact that we were in no way participants in the actions which transpired during the Board of Trustees meeting. Although I am a student who attended the meeting, I was there to listen to policy decisions, not to disrupt the meeting. Our goal is to work with the Board of Trustees to find clean energy solutions for campus through positive interactions and advocacy.

  • Coal Free IU


    Coal Free IU was launched in 2009 with the goal of moving our campus toward 100% clean energy. Our intent is to work with administrators, staff, students and community through positive collaboration and efforts. We work to promote conservation, efficiency, and renewable energy on campus through advocacy, education, and awareness. This event was not affiliated, organized, or promoted by Coal Free IU. – Thank you for your time and consideration. Coal Free IU

  • C.O.

    When this is going to stop. Every year the tuition is going up and the majority of people are afraid to protest. We must take drastic actions in order to stop this unfair and outrageous theft.

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