Indiana State University Newsroom

Changes to Tent City, increased law enforcement among Homecoming plans

May 8, 2019

Following a seven-month review, several significant changes in 2019 Homecoming plans for Indiana State University were announced today by President Deborah J. Curtis and Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett.

"We have spent a great deal of time since last October's Homecoming looking at ways to improve the safety and overall experience for all those who participate in this annual tradition," Curtis said. "We deeply appreciate the collaborative nature in which Mayor Bennett, Police Chief Shawn Keen, Sheriff John Plasse, local business owners, campus leaders, our students and others approached this issue."

Changes announced today include:

• Modifications to Tent City: Curtis indicated that Tent City will be moved inside the stadium with a smaller footprint and fewer tents. Individuals who want to visit Tent City will be required to have a ticket for the game. The former Tent City location will be opened up for additional and much needed parking, she added. Various groups that normally host tents at Tent City will be provided space on campus to host their alumni following the parade and prior to going to the stadium.

"We want to encourage our alumni to visit our campus to see the amazing changes that have taken place and to participate in the alumni tent and game at the stadium," said Curtis. "This will help us accomplish these goals."

• Significant increase in police presence and enforcement: Mayor Bennett announced a collaboration between the Terre Haute City Police, Indiana State's Public Safety Department and the Vigo County Sheriff's Department that will significantly increase the number of officers patrolling Wabash Avenue, the Stadium and adjacent areas. Officers will also be strict about enforcing permit requirements for pop-up locations, open containers and related laws.

• Tailgating rules: The university also plans to implement tailgating rules that will be in place for the entire football season including Homecoming, Curtis said. In particular, there will be a prohibition on glass bottles on stadium property, regulations on tent sizes, restrictions on amplified music and a set time period for tailgating activities.

• Continued engagement with business owners: Bennett praised the local business owners who participated in providing their feedback on Homecoming.

"We appreciate their help and insight and plan to reconvene them over the summer to continue our discussions on ways we can work together to improve safety," said Bennett.

In addition to hosting several meetings with various on and off-campus groups regarding Homecoming, President Curtis asked Professor Darlene Hantzis, chair of the department of communication, to lead a problem-based learning course so students could help study the issues and provide recommendations. The students completed the eight-week course last month and presented their findings on April 24.

"The students did an incredible job and these recommendations are just a few of the many that they presented to us. They had several other ideas that we are also looking into implementing," Curtis said.

The ideas include increased sober ride shuttles between the stadium and campus, a "Homecleaning" service project on Sunday after Homecoming where students and others will help clean up Wabash Avenue, a spirit project encouraging local businesses to "Go Blue" by decorating with blue signs, and activities that will provide alternatives to "The Walk" pub crawl that is not an officially sanctioned part of Homecoming but has contributed to the concerns regarding alcohol consumption and safety.

In the coming weeks, university representatives will be communicating with the groups normally involved with Tent City to explain options the university is providing.

"We want to ensure that Homecoming at Indiana State is a family-friendly activity that encourages our alumni, students, faculty, staff and the community to come together in support of our university while cheering the Sycamores on to a Homecoming victory," Curtis said.


Media contact: Libby Roerig, University Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or