Iowa to re-examine band member claims of abuse by rival fans

September 21, 2019 GMT

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The University of Iowa has reopened an inquiry into allegations that members of the school’s marching band were targets of abuse during last weekend’s game at Iowa State University.

Members of the Hawkeye Marching Band allege that they were subjected to racial slurs and other verbal abuse, and sexual harassment before, during and after the game. Some band members also said one woman was hospitalized and another was sexually assaulted.

“It was the fans,” said Paige Pearson, 20, who plays trumpet in the Iowa band. “The Iowa State band has been nothing but kind. They’ve reached out to us and said sorry this happened. It was not even the students, but adult fans.”

Administrators at the two schools announced earlier in the week that they had looked into the allegations, but they didn’t say whether anyone would face punishment. Iowa’s athletic director, Gary Barta, and his Iowa State counterpart, Jamie Pollard, released a joint statement saying members of both schools’ bands had been subjected to “rude, vulgar, and in some cases violent” conduct at football games in recent years, and urging fans to stop the behavior.

The schools’ response wasn’t sufficient for some Iowa students, who posted detailed accounts of the alleged abuse on social media and accused school officials of trying to cover up the problem.

University of Iowa spokeswoman Jeneane Beck said Friday that the social media posts made it clear that the university hadn’t adequately conveyed to its students what it had done to address the band members’ concerns, The Gazette of Cedar Rapids reported.

“Student safety is our number one priority and we are committed to ensuring a safe experience on game day for our students,” Beck said. “Additionally we are continuing our investigation to ensure all of our students have the ability to share their experiences with the appropriate authorities.”

Iowa officials said Friday in a message to band members that Barta and Pollard “have been actively engaged in the process and have publicly pledged to ensure better protections for students moving forward.”


Information from: The Gazette,