‘We weren’t talking to our family’: Jazz students vent frustration after town hall

Editor’s Note: This story makes mention of sexual violence.

Students at the Jacobs School of Music said they continued to feel unheard after faculty and other university staff held a town hall Monday night to discuss the recent investigation of the Indiana Daily Student regarding allegations of sexual assault by current jazz student Chris Parker.

The IDS published “Dissonance in due process”, which revealed that the university did not follow its word when re-admitting Parker after he violated a suspension resulting from a sexual assault in 2015. If he violated the campus trespassing ban, the Suspension conditions stipulated that he should be expelled or charged by the police. However, nothing happened and he was again suspended.

Representatives from the Office of the Dean of Students and the Office of Institutional Equity along with Jacobs faculty hosted and attended the meeting to hear from students with their concerns.

During the 90-minute meeting at the Musical Arts Center, approximately 80 students attended, many of whom asked questions and made statements on topics including the Title IX process, how IU determines disciplinary consequences and university actions noted in the survey.

Jazz graduate student Brendan Keller-Tuberg said administrative faculty members had paralyzed conversation with students because they forbade questions and comments about details.

“I’m happy to talk about policy and procedure and to talk about a particular sexual misconduct policy and process,” Kathy Adams Riester, associate vice provost for student affairs, said in documents obtained. by the IDS at the town hall. “But because of FERPA, we can’t talk about specific cases.”

When the administration was asked questions, Keller-Tuberg said their answers were devious and indirect. He said their answers were wasting time. Several students described the meeting as the same talking points repeated over and over.

Afterwards, he said that the students who attended were angry at the way the meeting went, but that he and others expected the meeting to go badly.

With students organizing to talk about these issues independently of Jacobs or IU, Keller-Tuberg and other students said Jacobs’ student body had a stronger sense of community and was more unified than before. . He said they hope to bring more people together to discuss these issues in the future.

Several students agreed that they would prefer a small gathering contained in the jazz curriculum instead of a town hall.

“If we were to have an isolated meeting with only people who are really part of this community, who know what this family is like, I think we could have a more personal conversation,” said Andrew Kreitner, junior in jazz studies. .

Kreitner said the inclusion of students and faculty outside of the jazz studies department made the meeting feel disconnected. He compared the town hall to a conversation with a brick wall. Without speaking directly to the IU jazz community, he said the issues raised by the students could not be resolved.

“We weren’t talking to our family,” Kreitner said. “We were talking to our family who were being advised on behalf of the school.”

Graduate student Jin Sook Kwak was the only female instrumentalist in the Jazz Studies program in the fall 2021 semester. She said it was frustrating because the meeting was all about the reporting process. sexual assault and not on the details of Parker’s case. She said the town hall was useless because people can search for information about the college process online.

“The purpose of the meeting was to talk about Chris Parker and why they handled the situation like that,” she said. “We were there because of this case, but we couldn’t talk about it.”

With the time limit, Kwak and others didn’t get a chance to speak, but she said she would have stayed until 2 or 3 a.m. to discuss their concerns and questions.

“I’m very frustrated, because I don’t hear anything from the faculty,” she said. “How are we going to move forward? How can we trust them again?

IU and Jacobs should have released a public statement at this point, Keller-Tuberg said, and it’s frustrating that they didn’t publicly comment on a public issue.

Keller-Tuberg said he wants professors, especially Title IX officials, to consider sexual assault with more weight. The actions of university officials, or lack thereof, perpetuate an environment where sexual assault is not taken seriously, he said.

“This circumstance happens over and over and over again,” Keller-Tuberg said. “I have no confidence that will change.”

The faculty and administration said at the town hall that they urge students who are victims of sexual assault to report it to the university and to law enforcement.

A list of resources is available here if you or someone you know has been sexually harassed or abused.

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