Spirit Squad update: completion of independent investigation
In February 2021, the University retained an external investigator to conduct an independent investigation into allegations of discrimination and harassment raised by current and former members of the University’s Spirit Squad. Specifically, the investigator was asked to learn whether Spirit Squad members had concerns of discrimination or harassment that they had not previously raised and/or concerns of discrimination or harassment that were previously raised but, in their view, were not adequately addressed by the University.
In August, the independent investigator concluded her investigation into those concerns and provided the University with conclusions and recommendations designed to eliminate and prevent any recurrence of discrimination or harassment of the Spirit Squad.
All of the recommendations made by the investigator have been completed or will be in place prior to the Spirit Squad’s first 2021 season appearance on Friday, Sept. 3.
We have provided a letter to the 39 former and current members of the Spirit Squad contacted by the investigator detailing the outcome of the investigation. The full letter is available on the Office of Equity's website. It includes information regarding previous actions taken by the Office of Equity and the Department of Athletics and Recreation to address reports of discrimination and harassment from Spirit Squad members; the findings from the independent investigation; the recommendations arising from the investigation; and steps taken by the Office of Equity, the Department of Athletics and Recreation and the Department of Human Resources after receiving these recommendations.
We care deeply about all members of our Spirit Squad, and we are actively working to support them as students and as people. We acknowledge the pain they have experienced and apologize for times when we fell short. We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment in any form, we take all reports of discrimination and harassment seriously, and we appreciate the courage it takes for members of our community to come forward to raise concerns.