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Indiana students camping ahead of UNC game have asked for tents to be removed as part of longstanding policy

Well before the kickoff for Wednesday night’s Indiana men’s basketball game against North Carolina, IU students arrived at the Indiana University Alumni Association building, ready to spend the night on campus across from Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall and await the to get the best seats for the game.

[Related: After camping out for hours, Indiana fans are more than ready for high-profile North Carolina]

Temperatures dropped 30 degrees overnight and students sat outside in heavy rain, but due to an IU campus policy, they weren’t allowed to pitch tents to stay dry.

“No one is allowed to pitch a tent on campus, whether it’s waiting for basketball or on campus,” said Indiana University Police Chief Jill Lees. “We just told them to take them out.”

Lees said the politics stemmed from various protest situations at places on campus like Dunn Meadow, but she said she wasn’t sure where exactly the politics originated.

[Related: BATTLE OF THE BLUE BLOODS: The recent history of Indiana and North Carolina men’s basketball]

In 2021, after the city of Bloomington evicted those living in homeless camps, groups of IU students and members of the Bloomington community pitched tents across from the Assembly Hall to protest in support of homeless people. The IUPD asked the protesters to take down the tents, but the protesters kept the tents up until the end of the NCAA tournament game, which was being played in the Assembly Hall.

In the 2011-12 school year, a protest movement called Occupy IU used the tent as a symbol of the movement, and in 2012 two students were arrested for keeping tents up after being ordered to remove them.

In 2011, before an Indiana basketball game against the University of Kentucky, students who wanted to camp for a week were told to take down their tents, at least in part due to the Occupy movement.

On Tuesday night, the students decided to endure the weather, sleeping under tarps or setting up umbrellas to try and break 20-mph winds.

Daniel Larson, an IU senior who was camping for Wednesday night’s game, said IU should review its policy.

“Students come here (to camp) and without the tent, people risked hypothermia,” Larson said. “We all shook once in the night. A tent would have fixed that.”

Lees said there is no consideration for an exemption for students camping on Tuesday.

“No matter what the reason or what the weather is like, we can’t allow anyone to have a tent,” Lees said.

Lees said IUPD has been regularly checking the line and sending officers to make sure everyone is healthy and was there himself this morning.

A spokesman for Indiana Athletics said the department’s policy is that students are not allowed to have lawn chairs or tents on the athletics campus when the line at the assembly hall officially opens at 2 p.m

Follow reporter Evan Gerike (@EvanGerike) and Emma Pawlitz (@emmapawlitz) and columnist Bradley Hohulin (@BradleyHohulin) for updates throughout the Indiana men’s basketball season.

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