Education

Iowa State now investigating 4 Hawkeye Marching Band assault reports

Police chief confirms open and active investigation

The Iowa Hawkeye Marching Band sits in the stands during the first quarter of the Sept. 14 football game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Iowa State Cyclones at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames. ISU police are investigating four reports from UI band members about assault at the stadium. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
The Iowa Hawkeye Marching Band sits in the stands during the first quarter of the Sept. 14 football game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Iowa State Cyclones at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames. ISU police are investigating four reports from UI band members about assault at the stadium. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Iowa State University police are investigating a fourth report of assault from a member of the Hawkeye Marching Band as complaints continue to come in after ISU Athletic Director Jamie Pollard last week issued a public appeal for students talking about their abuse to file formal reports.

The ISU police department — which is leading the investigation into actions in Jack Trice Stadium during the Sept. 14 Cy-Hawk game — is not releasing the reports because, Chief Michael Newton said, they’re part of an active and open investigation.

Although the University of Iowa released three police reports it took from members of its Hawkeye Marching Band who came forward to file criminal complaints the same day Pollard made his public appeal, those reports — which were then forwarded to Iowa State — were heavily redacted, with all names, demographic information and details blacked out.

An Iowa State police crime log shows the department on Sept. 25 took two reports of assault at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames on Sept. 14; another assault report for the same date and location on Sept. 26; and then a fourth on Sept. 27.

Newton confirmed for The Gazette those were the Hawkeye Marching Band reports.

The ISU records custodian has not yet produced documents in response to The Gazette’s request for any and all incident reports it took during this year’s Cy-Hawk game — which stretched on for hours due to rain and storm delays.

But UI Athletic Director Gary Barta just days after the game tipped off the public — along with ISU administrators — to concerns about abuse of the Hawkeye Marching Band by issuing a vague statement condemning “inappropriate actions” and reporting his department was investigating.

Pollard responded to questions about the allegations with questions of his own, and UI President Bruce Harreld and ISU President Wendy Wintersteen both told The Gazette following Barta’s comments that their respective institutions had investigated all they could.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

With campus administrators apparently moving on, band members began speaking out — telling The Gazette and other media outlets that they and their colleagues had been subjected to physical and sexual assault, verbal harassment and racial slurs. One student ended up in the hospital with fractured ribs, they reported, noting much of the abuse happened during their postgame exit off the field.

Harreld, when asked about the issue, told the UI student newspaper “something really bad happened in Ames,” and he questioned the future of the Cy-Hawk series.

That prompted Pollard’s Sept. 24 news conference, during which he called for UI band members to file criminal complaints if “something really bad happened.”

“The statement that ‘something really bad happened’ has created another narrative that there’s something else out there that wasn’t part of those five allegations,” Pollard said, citing five complaints his department had received from the UI to date — including thrown beer and a broken window on the Hawkeye football team’s bus.

“If there is, then somebody needs to come forward and share that with us,” he said.

Pollard, during his news conference, noted the Hawkeye Marching Band could have and should have exited the field through a less crowded gate — a contention band members have criticized as untrue and unfair. Pollard noted he doesn’t doubt the Hawkeye band was subject to “shameful” and “embarrassing” heckling and rudeness — as has ISU’s band in Iowa City.

But he stressed the annual intrastate rivalry is not in jeopardy, calling it an “economic engine” for Iowa. Gov. Kim Reynolds also extolled the tradition and quashed any chatter of its discontinuation.

“I have full confidence in the two universities sitting down and being able to figure this out,” Reynolds said last week. “They’ll move through it, making sure that they take everything into account.”

Comments: (319) 339-3158; vanessa.miller@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.