November 18, 2015
One of our African-American students reported being a victim of an assault this week while on Kirkwood Avenue in downtown Bloomington.
The safety of our students is of paramount importance. I and members of my staff, as well as IU Police and public safety officials, the office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs and others, have been working closely with our colleagues at Bloomington Police Department, which is investigating this incident. I write to provide an update to the campus community.
At approximately 5:30 p.m. Monday, our student was riding his electronic skateboard along Kirkwood when a woman and a man – both white and thought to be in their late 20s or early 30s – walked past him in the opposite direction. As these individuals passed our student, he reported, the woman purposely struck our student with her leg, causing him to fall and aggravate an existing injury to his shoulder.
The student called the Bloomington Police Department, which responded immediately, took a description of the individuals involved, and commenced a search of the area. Unfortunately, the suspects were not located. The investigation into this incident is ongoing and IU Police will continue to work with Bloomington Police to find those responsible for this act. The police have followed up the initial search with an investigation, which continues. Anyone who was in the area of Kirkwood and Grant at the time of the incident is encouraged to call IU Police at 855-4111.
An act of random violence directed at a student of color in our town is frightening to all, and a destructive tear in the fabric of our campus. My thoughts and support are with this student, and all of our students of color, as we work to assure your safety. Bigotry and violence should have no place here.
In that spirit, I have joined several members of campus administration in meeting with students of color on two occasions in the past week to listen to their concerns so that the campus can continue to address these complex challenges.
Diversity and inclusion are core values for our campus, and we will continue to work tirelessly to make all our students feel safe and valued during their time at Indiana University.
Again, if you have any information that may aid in the investigation of this specific incident, please contact IU Police at 855-4111. Regardless, please know that these conversations around diversity will continue both on our campus and across the broader Bloomington community, and that all of us at IU are committed to taking concrete steps to effectively address the concerns we have heard from our students of color.