DePauw and Wabash presidents partner to fight proposed amendment HJR 6

309

DePauw University and Wabash College presidents Brian Casey and Gregg Hess, respectively, sent out a press release on Monday morning stating their joint partnership with Freedom Indiana Coalition in its fight against Indiana's House Joint Resolution 6 (HJR6), a proposed amendment to the Indiana constitution.
If passed, HJR6 would permanently define marriage as between a man and a woman and would remove protections under the current Indiana law for same-sex couples. It is to be discussed in the Indiana General assembly's legislative session this January.
Casey and Hess will be joining Michael McRobbie, president of Indiana University, along with Eli Lilly and Company, Cummins Inc. and many other major groups and organizations, in Freedom Indiana's fight to bring this proposed amendment to people's attention and to show the impact that the amendment may have on Indiana businesses if passed.
"We are proud to join the Freedom Indiana Coalition and, in doing so, stand with some of Indiana's most respected employers and organizations on the side of fairness," McRobbie said in a press release.
Casey's main concern with regards to DePauw is the potential negative impact that such an amendment can have on employing faculty and staff who do not support HJR6.
"We are a community that relies on our capacity to attract talented students and faculty," he said, "and any amendment or law that prohibits us from attracting talent from whatever corner it comes from is simply harmful to this institution and its educational mission."
McRobbie seems to have similar reasoning for his decision to join Freedom Indiana.
"HJR6 sends a powerfully negative message of Indiana as a place to live and work that is not welcoming to people of all backgrounds and beliefs," McRobbie said. "As a major employer in the state, IU competes with universities and companies around the world for the very best talent, and HJR6 would needlessly complicate our efforts to attract employees to our campuses around the state."
Despite the fact that Wabash and DePauw are rival schools, Hess and Casey believed that joining the Freedom Indiana Coalition together would have a more powerful impact than joining separately, as it would show people that the university presidents are united for this cause.
"Last week, [Hess] called me and said, since both institutions were thinking about this, wouldn't it be interesting and powerful to move together? And I said, 'I think it would be,'" Casey said. "The fact that you have IU and now two leading private institutions all moving together will garner notice and will get a sense of momentum for the particular issue."
While there was some hesitation among the DePauw board of trustee members when Casey approached them with his idea, Casey hopes that he will receive mostly positive feedback from board members and students alike.
"Our board was supportive, though with some anxiety expressed about an institution taking a potentially controversial position," Casey said. "There was some expression for the institutions good-standing, but there was very strong support."
Casey is awaiting much feedback from this announcement.
"I've literally been in meetings all day, so I've been unable to find out how this is going, but I'm sure I'll know soon," he said.
For more information on Freedom Indiana and the partnership between Casey and Hess, visit http://www.freedomindiana.org/.