“Camp Crean” in limbo

Students waiting for seats for the IU-Kentucky game, after being asked to take down their tents

Indiana seniors Tim Madden, Augie Sundermeier and Richard Howenstein have been going to basketball games together since they met in their freshman year when they all lived on the third floor of Foster-Jenkinson dormitory. In that period, they’ve watched IU lose more basketball games than any class before them.

So with Indiana sitting at 8-0 for the first time since the 2002-03 season and a showdown coming with rival and No. 1 rated Kentucky, the student season ticket holders decided to begin camping out for the best possible seats.

On Tuesday. Four days before the game.

“This is our senior year,” said Madden, who also said they were naming the encampment “Camp Crean.” “We’ve stuck with this team all four years. We just think this is really something special that (coach Tom) Crean’s doing this year. Originally, we were going to actually come out on Thursday. We figured that’s when people would start coming out. But then we were like, ‘No, we better go there Wednesday because we want to be first in line for (general admission) and everything. Then yesterday, we were just like, ‘let’s just go tomorrow.’ We just decided instantaneously.”

Those three were part of a group of eight that decided to put up a large tent, taking shifts as they went to class during the went to class the week before final exams. They brought folding chairs, food, and other supplies for about 96 hours in the cold.

Such camp-outs have been going on for years for big games at Duke, with the area reserved for tents earning the name Krzyzewskiville in honor of coach Mike Krzyzewski. Other schools have also bought into the trend.

But university policy has complicated their plans. The group set up a tent at about 2:30 on Tuesday. By 4:30, they were told by the IU police department to take them down because of a university policy that does not allow tents on campus.

“They told us that we had to take down the tents,” Sundermeier said. “And that we also might not be able to use the chairs.”

The event management team of IU athletics had begun preparation for a camp out on Tuesday morning, and had begun drawing up rules for such an event. They had planned to set up a rule that students could not begin camping out until 24 hours before the game.

The group showed up before it was expected, but event management had decided to allow it. Guest services manager Derek Crawford met with the group to lay out rules and told them that IUPD would be patrolling the area occasionally. However, when athletics called IUPD, they were informed that IU has a policy that does not allow tents on campus.

It is unclear when that policy was enacted. Keith Cash, chief of IUPD, did not immediately return a voicemail or an e-mail seeking clarification. Though it would appear to have something to do with the Occupy Bloomington movement — which is set up on city property at People’s Park on the corner of Kirkwood Avenue and Dunn Street — Sundermeier said they were told it might have also been enacted after previous protests on campus at Dunn Meadow.

“It has to do with people camping in Dunn Meadow,” Sundermeier said. “It might not just be because of Occupy. Somebody was telling me about something that happened, a peace thing they had in Dunn Meadow. I can understand where they’re coming from. They can’t make an exception saying you can camp here but you can’t camp there on property.”

Sundermeier said that they were told the police department would take the issue to IU’s legal department to determine if there might be an exception. Howenstein said IUPD was “steadfast” in saying that they might not have an answer on their status until the morning.

The campers said that they would stay in the area, but with temperatures falling, staying outside in the cold without a tent wasn’t an option.

“There’s a 50-50 chance I pull my car up here and we just sleep in my car for the night and get back out here in the morning,” Sundermeier said. “We’ll see what happens.”

18 comments

  1. Great reporting Dustin. You or anyone else has not explained why IU allowed at least 10 tents of students to set up and camp out for an equally big game last year against Purdue for 3 days and no one cared?

    Has the media or anyone at IU bothered to figure out the inconsistency here? I hope so.

    Also if IU has a no tenting policy how are tailgating tents allowed?

    These are 2 questions that need to be answered NOW for this story to make sense. Please Dustin can you figure this out for me (p.s. I am not one of the campers just a confused news consumer)

  2. Frank,
    I’m trying to figure that out as well. That’s what I was planning on asking IUPD. I’m not sure if this is entirely clear in the story, but IU athletics was willing to let them stay. They were surprised to hear about the policy from IUPD. They called IUPD because they expected the encampment to get big, and they figured they would need police patrol and they were just asking for security. That’s when athletics was informed about the policy.
    I’m presuming the Purdue campout was allowed to happen for one of two reasons. Either A: that campout never got big enough for athletics to bother calling IUPD for security help or B: the no-tent policy was made to make sure Occupy Bloomington didn’t move from People’s Park to Dunn Meadow and this is sort of collateral damage there. Dunn Meadow has dealt with previous encampments as noted above, and IU might have just decided it didn’t want to go through that again. Not sure and waiting for response from IUPD.

  3. But I don’t have much of an answer on tailgating tents. I think there you get into the issue of what defines a tent. Most of those aren’t tents you can actually sleep in.

  4. God forbid that we allow students to camp out for tickets. Look at how badly that has worked for Duke when the Crazies line up days before big games. All of the debauchery and acts of mayhem by those disorderly campers seems to be a distraction to their team. Look at how poorly they have performed over the years at home. I’m glad that IUPD is going to keep IU students under control in Bloomington.

  5. Have you noticed how, in the cities where the police actually cooperate, there are very few problems with encampments for whatever the reasons? Fortunately, for me, I live in one of those cities.

  6. IUPD and athletics should go through and make sure they have tickets to the game. If you have a ticket, you camp; if you don’t, get out. If Occupy is the issue here, I’m pretty sure that policy would take care of any squatters.

    I understand the policy, but sometimes you have to do what is right, not what the law says.

  7. Good grief, the IUPD needs to lighten up. These are college kids; they’re trying to have fun and support the team; nothing wrong with that. All forcing them to leave will do is make IU look like a bunch of morons compared to schools that allow this kind of thing to occur (Duke being the best example).

    Come on IUPD, this isn’t Little 500 ’91, it’s not a couch-burning riot, use some common sense and let the kids camp out if they want to.

    I was in Bloomington the day after Thanksgiving, and People’s Park on Kirkwood, ever the epicenter of populist discontent with ‘the establishment,’ appeared to already be accomodating an ‘Occupy’ group of some sort,so I can’t see how that would be the fear on IUPD’s part.

  8. Desperate times we live in. A homeless Jamarcus Ellis braved gang-ridden streets while living in the backseat of a 1984 broken down Impala with two bucks of gas in the tank; surviving the most brutal nights a Chicago winter for a chance to take his basketball dreams to the storied hardwood of McCracken Court.

    Now, his struggles unforgotten, as students that have suffered far too long a half day of Business School classes, forced to crash at night in the 10′ x 10′ concrete cells known at Foster Quad with little more than the latest edition of an iPhone, Pottery Barn bedding with that pretty earth-toned striped pattern in soft flannel, and their $1500 Apple Mac Pros, are requesting permission to borrow one of the parent’s BMWs for a couple days on the dangerous streets of Bloomington…They might even be forced to eat delivery pizza form Mother Bears and endure the brutality an IUPD officer telling them to “get a life.” But it is a life…”It’s Jamarcus’s struggle” they tweet on iPads…”It is his dreams to be in the Hall” we must never let die in vain.

    The numbers grow..Though tents and sleeping bags would have been nice, the ‘Beemers’ still hum. Four more days of suffering…These brave students don’t complain..They simply refer to it as “Jamarcus’s Movement.” They’ll never forget. We must never forget. D\

  9. Doesn’t sound anything like my college experience. I never worked less than 30 hours a week. No parent money. No car. Hadn’t invented cell phones, of course.
    Don’t ascribe your own life to these kids. It’s a state school, not Duke. Frankly, I didn’t even know anyone like you describe when I was a student. With a couple exceptions, everyone I knew worked their way through school.

  10. i love the Camp Crean movement. I also appreciate Pizza Guy’s post for the way it brings up the socioeconomic differences between the privileged and not so privileged in our student body. There is definitely a divide; I would guess that for every hard-working Chet, who pays their own way and works hard, there is a corresponding beemer-driving spoiled rich kid who parties 5 nights a week and is content with a C- average ( the future leaders and “job creators” of America, according to Clarion ).

    I can tell you this, the ones getting the most out of their education are the ones paying for it themselves, not the ones with the silver spoons.

  11. Seeing the paper-thin ‘North Face’ coat on the hungry and despondent young man in the Scoop photo almost makes me want to cry. God I hope he makes it through the night. I would bet they’re all from the Carmel Projects north of Indy. The Beemers hum…Jamarcus’s Movement shall not die.

    I propose we start a pizza delivery fund right here on Scoop.

  12. Kids that pay for their own college are more likely to finish and study a field that can support them. They can’t afford not to. The kids of the so-called ‘job creators’ (that one has been pretty thoroughly dispelled), going to school on Dad’s dime, could care less. I read once where that poster child of the ‘job creator’ class, Paris Hilton, never finished high school. It shows.

  13. I love the passion that these young men have for IU and Coach Crean’s basketball team. They want to yell and scream as loud as they can on the first row to help their Hoosiers beat the Evil Kitties.

    They are rotating in and out of the cue based on their class schedules.

    Yes, they have warm NorthFace jackets but 90% of college students wear NorthFace and somehow I bet Pizza Delivery Guy has a warm coat, too.

    Let’s help these students stay warm and get to the first row in Assembly Hall on Saturday without frostbite.

  14. “”I shall name it “Occupy Chet’s Driveway.””

    Come on down. It’s gravel but the view is nice.

  15. Yep, occupiers of the past months are job creators, for the sanitation, garbage industry and landfill development.

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