University of Iowa president Bruce Harreld tells the student newspaper he doesn’t want to play the Cy-Hawk football game again until there are some guidelines set down for security of the band and everyone involved.
Harreld spoke with the Daily Iowan after some Hawkeye band members say they were assaulted following the September 14th game in Ames. “I’m not convinced at all that we should play this game again, here, there or anywhere and of course our athletes,” Harreld says.
Harreld says he has reached out to Iowa State University President Wintersteen and University of Northern Iowa President Mark Nook to ask them to discuss the issue. “I think all three of us need to sit down and have a series of conversations withour athletic directors, with our band directors, with our campus security and safety people and say ‘how do we ensure that something like what happened… eight days ago doesn’t happen again?’,” Harreld says.
He says they need to discuss several things and have them written down. “How large should our security forces be, where should the van bus park, what tunnel should tunnel should we have a group of officers and security people protecting them. I think there’s a lot to document here,” Harreld says.
It became a public issue after Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta released a statement the Monday after the game saying the University had been made aware of inappropriate actions toward members of the band and staff during the football game in Ames and they were investigating. Iowa State A-Director Jamie Pollard said the next day it was “tough to comment on this situation, because all we know is that Iowa issued a press release. I couldn’t tell you what happened, when it happened or where it happened. No one has been able to ascertain that information and provide it too us.”
The athletic directors of both schools issued a joint statement Wednesday that said:” Unfortunately, both the Hawkeye and Cyclone marching bands have been the target of unacceptable behavior at football games in Iowa City and Ames in recent years. Some of the conduct directed at the students in our respective marching bands recently has been rude, vulgar, and in some cases, violent. We should all feel embarrassed when students in the bands don’t feel safe when performing at an away game.” The statement said both athletic departments are committed to doing whatever is necessary to improve the environment for visiting school marching bands in the future.
Harrold told the Daily Iowan the schools need to address the issue and be sure it doesn’t happen again. “Something happened and it isn’t right and we can all do better,” Harreld says. “And I’m not just talking about in Ames — I am talking about in Iowa City too. it works both ways, we can all improve and we should take this opportunity to improve from it.” The University of Iowa said it had re-opened the investigation after the issue caught fire on social media and band members posted information on how they say they were attacked or injured in Ames.
Harreld expressed concern that it appears his school was being criticized for pointing out the issue. “I’m a little frustrated right now that this happened not in Iowa City, not in Kinnick, it happened at another stadium. All the sudden now, it’s like victim blaming. All the sudden now, the University of Iowa is part of the issue because we start or stop the investigation,” Harreld says, “Please. We’re going to get to the bottom of this, we’re going to get through it all, and then we’re going to learn from it and move forward. If it means we’re not going to play again, we’re not going to play again.”
Harreld told the Daily Iowan he believes they can work through this. He says it is part of the larger issue nationwide of fan behavior.
(Harreld photo by Katina Zentz for The Daily Iowan)