INDIANAPOLIS — This morning, the ACLU of Indiana filed suit against Indiana University, asserting the university violated the First Amendment rights of three plaintiffs facing a one-year ban from campus for their participation in political protests on the IU-Bloomington campus.

Each of the arrestees has been subject to a ban from the IU Police Department prohibiting them from setting foot on campus for one year. Today’s filing contends that these bans are an unlawful prior restraint on the free speech rights of the plaintiffs, each of whom wants to rejoin the ongoing protests on campus.

The suit requests that the one-year bans be dismissed to allow plaintiffs access to the campus to participate in current and future protests. The plaintiffs are Jasper Wirtshafter, a Bloomington resident, Dr. Benjamin Robinson, a tenured IU-Bloomington professor, and Madeleine Meldrum, a current IU-Bloomington graduate student.

Over the last week, at least 56 arrests have been made during pro-Palestinian protests in Dunn Meadow, IU-Bloomington’s designated free speech area. 

Statement from ACLU of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk:

“Since 1969 Dunn Meadow has been a public forum, a place for persons to engage in First Amendment expression. Indiana University cannot preemptively ban persons from engaging in this protected expression by prohibiting them from entering Dunn Meadow for a year or more.

Our future ability to engage in speech activities cannot be denied in this way. This is a prior restraint, and it is unconstitutional.”

The complaint can be found here.