After Governor Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law Thursday, criticism from Indiana residents, local businesses, and a number of national entities descended upon the state. Among those weighing in on the subject are Indiana universities and colleges. Below are portions of statements released by university leaders regarding the law that opponents say would allow legal discrimination particularly against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Purdue President and former governor Mitch Daniels has not commented on the law, and a spokesperson for Daniels said “it is a long-standing policy of our Trustees that institutionally, we are not to take part in public debates of this kind.”
Michael McRobbie, Indiana University President
“For its part, Indiana University remains steadfast in our longstanding commitment to value and respect the benefits of a diverse society. It is a fundamental core value of our culture at Indiana University and one that we cherish. Indeed, in 2014 the trustees of Indiana University reaffirmed our commitment to the achievement of equal opportunity within the university.
To that end, Indiana University will recruit, hire, promote, educate and provide services to persons without regard to their age, race, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, marital status, national origin, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status. Equally importantly, we will not tolerate discrimination on the basis of any of these same factors.”
James Danko, Butler University President
“Over the past week I have heard from many Butler community members—as well as prospective students, parents, and employees—who have expressed concerns about the impact this law may have on our state and our University. As such, I feel compelled to share my perspective and to reinforce the values of Butler University.
While I have read a variety of opinions and rationale for RFRA, it strikes me as ill-conceived legislation at best, and I fear that some of those who advanced it have allowed their personal or political agendas to supersede the best interests of the State of Indiana and its people. No matter your opinion of the law, it is hard to argue with the fact it has done significant damage to our state…
It is our sincere hope that those around the country with their ears turned toward our Hoosier state hear just one thing loud and clear—the united voice of millions who support inclusion and abhor discrimination.”
Brian W. Casey, DePauw University President
“I am, by practice, reluctant to comment in any way on current political matters. As president of a university, I must do all I can to ensure that the free exchange of ideas is both protected and nurtured. I would not want any statement from me to chill discussion on DePauw’s campus on any issue. Legislation that has the effect of either encouraging or condoning discrimination, however, must be addressed.
“I join with other Indiana corporations, leaders in industry, and institutions of higher education and urge the Governor and the legislature to take all steps necessary to address the harm this legislation has caused. We must affirm that the State of Indiana is a place that welcomes and respects all citizens and visitors regardless of their race, religion, or sexual orientation.”
Paul Ferguson, Ball State President
“In the context of the current state and national conversation related to Indiana’s recent legislation, it is important to reaffirm that Ball State University has long been committed to a vibrant and diverse community and will not tolerate discrimination. The university expresses this in many ways, including our Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policy, which clarifies that Ball State will provide equal opportunity to facilities without regard to race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender expression, physical or mental disability, national origin, ancestry, or age.”