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Indiana University faculty are calling for the termination of Whitten Shrivastav

Faculty at Indiana University's College of Arts and Sciences (COAS) – the university's largest college by student enrollment – overwhelmingly called on the Board of Trustees in a university-wide vote on May 1 to terminate the employment of President Pamela Whitten and Provost Rahul Shrivastav to finish.

More than 75% of the college’s faculty members participated; 911 of a total of 1,209 eligible faculty members voted.

Of them, 86% voted for a resolution calling on trustees to “terminate the employment of President Whitten and Provost Shrivastav due to the vote of no confidence and their handling of the events at Dunn Meadow.” Of voters, 92.1% also demanded that the trustees repeal the recently adopted policy regarding the use of buildings at Dunn Meadow, and 93.4% demanded that the trustees repeal bans on protesters entering the state of Indiana Police arrested were April 25th and 27th.

COAS is IU's largest college with 12,925 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the spring 2024 semester.

Andrés Guzmán, an associate professor at COAS, said the overwhelming majority of the university's largest body shows the wavering support for Whitten's administration on campus.

“The college believes this person cannot lead,” Guzmán said. “I'm not talking about 'You don't lead well.' You can’t lead if people don’t share your goals.”

The arts and sciences vote is the latest in growing condemnation of the faculties

The COAS vote is the latest – and largest – in a series of university-wide faculty condemnations of the Whitten administration and its handling of the pro-Palestinian camp at Dunn Meadow, which has resulted in 56 arrests so far.

Last week, IU Media School faculty released a statement condemning the “repressive crackdown on protests in Dunn Meadow” and calling for the policy to be repealed. Faculty at IU's Luddy School of Computer Science also passed a resolution calling for the resignations of Whitten and Shrivastav. In that vote, 76 of 105 faculty members voted in favor of the resolution, while 11 voted against and 18 abstained.

Faculty at IU's O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and School of Education also passed resolutions calling for the repeal of the Dunn Meadow policy change and the lifting of the campus ban, with each vote receiving more than 80% of the vote received votes.

To date, a faculty-only petition calling for the immediate resignation of Whitten and Shrivastav has garnered more than 1,000 signatures.

This all came after an overwhelming faculty vote of no confidence in Whitten, Shrivastav and Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs Carrie Docherty on April 16, more than a week before the pro-Palestinian campaign began.

'It transcends political boundaries': Faculty say votes are not politically motivated

Chancellor Professor Emeritus Robert Arnove, who served at IU for more than 50 years, said the COAS vote and increasing faculty dissent were unlike anything he had seen at IU.

“This is the most precarious moment for them [IU’s] remains viable as a major research university,” said Arnove. “There has never been anything like this before.”

Guzmán said the growing number of voices against the government and its actions shows that those who want to remove Whitten are not just “a minority of the radical faculty.”

“What’s really interesting is that it cuts across political boundaries,” Guzmán said. “In most cases, if it were just a minority, you can’t have over 90% agreeing and pushing the board of trustees to fire the president and provost.”

Constance Furey, a professor of religious studies at COAS, said calls for Whitten and Shrivastav to resign are growing as faculty share concerns about a loss of shared governance.

“The faculty I spoke to never mentioned their political views,” Furey said. “It’s a question of incompetence.”

Reach Brian Rosenzweig at [email protected]. Follow him on X/Twitter at @brianwritesnews.

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