(Click here to read Provost Robel’s statement.)
What follows is my statement about IU On Strike and accusations made by Provost Lauren Robel. The statement was originally e-mailed to a reporter for Bloomington’s Herald-Times newspaper. Please read and share widely.
I am a participant in IU On Strike. I was present at Monday’s noise demonstration and march. I witnessed firsthand the events in Provost Lauren Robel’s office and I would like to dispute the Provost’s claims that her executive secretary was pushed or shoved in any way. The following is my personal account of what I saw on Monday afternoon:
Demonstrators entered the building with the intent of visiting Provost Robel in her office to deliver our basic strike demands, as well as demand that the Provost and other members of the IU administration promise to not retaliate against IU staff and faculty for participating in or organizing for the strike on April 11 and 12. When demonstrators entered the hall, we walked toward the room with the reception desk. Immediately, a staff member (presumably the Provost’s executive secretary, whom the Provost claims was pushed by demonstrators) held out her arms and legs against the door frame to block any person from entering. She did not ask about our intentions, she simply blocked the doorway and began pushing demonstrators away. She then began moving around to different sides of the door frame and protestors slipped in. As more demonstrators, including myself, streamed into the reception area, she left the doorway. At no point did any protestor push her.
After less than a minute of handing out fliers for the strike and chanting in the reception area, Provost Robel came out of her office. The Provost invited us into her office for a discussion. We obliged, and filled her office.After around fifteen minutes of discussion and debate with Provost Robel about our demands, we concluded that nothing fruitful would come of the meeting and we decided to leave. As we exited, some demonstrators left behind literature and fliers. The Provost’s claims that demonstrators broke into an office are absolutely false. All actions were taken out in the open and I did not witness anyone go behind closed doors. I feel that the Provost’s account of the events are, at best, gross exaggerations and, at worst, libelous and written for the purpose of repression. Additionally, I find it inappropriate that the Provost had her e-mail approved by IUSA, when no member of IUSA was present for the demonstration.
Provost Robel claimed in her e-mail that she was unaware of our demands, nor did she know what strikers intend to do on the days of the strike. This is false. I personally handed the Provost our list of demands, as well as a flier of scheduled events. She said she would look over them and thanked me for giving them to her. IU On Strike’s demands and scheduled events are not secret. They have been published on the Internet and on leaflets, which have been distributed as widely as possible.
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