GREENSBORO, N.C. — North Carolina A&T State University says two head cheer coaches have resigned following claims a cheerleader was raped but it was never reported.
Here’s what we know about the investigation and the resignation of the two coaches.
WHAT WE'VE VERIFIED
VERIFIED: North Carolina A&T State University says cheer coaches, Adjoa Botwe-Rankin and Wenalyn Glenn have resigned.
VERIFIED: Shawn Hendrix, senior women's administrator for A&T Intercollegiate Athletics, has been appointed to serve as administrator of the cheerleading program. Hendrix will oversee the program on an interim basis as the school searches for new cheer coaches.
VERIFIED: The following was released by NC A&T State University in reference to the remainder of the cheer season: “The cheerleading program remains in a period of reduced activity. No cheer performances will take place during the final two regular season basketball games, which occur during Spring Break when cheer performances are not scheduled, or during the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.”
On February 7, a North Carolina A&T student and Blue Squad cheer team member came forward with her story in the form of an open letter.
The victim, Raina Gee, who’s a freshman alleges she was raped by a graduating senior. She said she told the coaching staff about the sexual assault, and it's their obligation to report it within 24 hours of receiving the information.
"As a responsible employee, you have 24 hours to report to Title IX when you have this information."
Gee claims the staff did not do so.
Gee says the sexual assault occurred on November 13, 2018. She filed a police report three days later.
She then called for the firing of the cheer coaches after three months of no action. She said she wanted the coaching staff fired immediately saying they acted with 'blatant negligence.'
Earlier in the season, the school benched the cheer team for two games. Brian Holloway, the Associate Athletics Director released the following information about benching the squad for the games earlier in the season.
Holloway sent the following official statement:
The North Carolina A&T cheer program will enter a period of reduced cheerleading activity effective immediately through Feb. 19, 2019, North Carolina A&T Director of Athletics Earl M. Hilton III announced on Thursday.
The reduced activity will include the cheer program not performing during home men’s and women’s basketball games against Delaware State on Saturday, February 9 and Maryland Eastern Shore on Monday, February 11. It also includes no cheerleading practices.
North Carolina A&T Athletics’ primary concern continues to be the health and safety of our student-athletes. We hope the reduction in cheering activity will allow time for us to focus on the student welfare of our cheer program while also allowing our cheerleaders to focus on academics and other aspects of student life at North Carolina A&T.
The University released the following statement on the allegations:
“We are deeply saddened to hear of any allegation of sexual assault and take such allegations very seriously. Privacy laws prevent the university from publicly discussing such matters involving current or former students. The university will continue to pursue investigations regarding any claim and provide care and assistance to any victim of an assault in our community, as well as work with authorities to bring perpetrators to justice.”
NC A&T CHANCELLOR ADDRESSES SEXUAL ASSAULT, CAMPUS POLICIES
On February 13, North Carolina A&T State University Chancellor, Harold Martin addresses sexual assault and campus policies in an email to students.
Martin said in the email the university's efforts to prevent sexual assaults and support survivors are not adequate. He said he would create a campus-wide committee made up of students, faculty, and staff to evaluate recommendations from the Student Government Association.
The student government made 11 recommendations that included establishing a gender-based violence response office and starting a 24-7 rape crisis center on campus.
Here's a list of all 11 recommendations:
- Create an adjudication board of sanctioning officers.
- Establish a Gender-Based Violence Response Office.
- Establish a 24/7 Rape Crisis Center on campus.
- Allow students to report gender-based sexual, dating, and other types of violence anonymously online.
- Hire qualified professional staff to work as investigators of sexual assault cases.
- Provide survivors and accused students with different case managers.
- Investigations should limit the number of times survivors must re-describe the incident to as few individuals as is practicable. Investigations should take ideally about 60 days.
- Provide accommodations beyond what's required by law.
- Offer anonymous campus climate surveys to accurately measure the prevalence of sexual and dating violence.
- Publish aggregate statistics showing: how many cases are reported, how many survivors were denied accommodations that they requested, how long cases remained open, how many students were found responsible, and how students found responsible were sanctioned.
- A complete restructuring and rebuilding of the "Healthy Brothers, Healthy Sisters" program.