ATLANTA — A dance team at Georgia State University are upset about how they were treated at a recent football game.
Members of the Crown Jewels of GSU contacted Channel 2 Action News after what they said are ongoing issues with the school's athletic department.
The Crown Jewels are not sanctioned by the university's athletic department even though they are sanctioned by the university. GSU's official dance team is The Pantherttes.
Channel 2's Tyisha Fernandes spoke with members of the team, who dance in an HBCU Majorette style.
The incident happened Thursday night at the first game of the season against Kennesaw State University. The dancers said they were humiliated when security guards directed by GSU school officials moved them from the home side to the opponent's side.
"I’d say we were embarrassed, humiliated, it was frustrating," Danielle Holmes, one of the team's leaders, told Fernandes.
The athletic department is standing by the move. GSU's athletic department spokesman, Mike Holmes, said the Crown Jewels were asked to move because the group was taking up too much room in the stands.
"We needed to fill that space in," Holmes said. "We asked about four or five times. We continued to get, 'We’re going to do what we wanna do.' That’s the point where we got our security company involved."
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The team disagrees and says the stands weren't full. Fernandes obtained video of their performance that shows at least five empty rows behind the team.
"People could’ve came and sat behind us, in front of us, next to us, they even could’ve sat with us," Danielle Holmes said. "We weren’t hogging any seats. We didn’t have anything taped off."
Still, the school insisted they were taking up too much room.
"For us, it was a matter of, if you're one individual you get one seat," Mike Holmes said. "We were trying to get as many students in that section as possible, to be equal for every student here."
Danielle Holmes said she thinks space was not the issue. GSU officially sanctioned the Crown Jewels in January of last year with the provision that they could dance in the stands. The university also started funding the team and paying for their uniforms this year. But the team says they still feel unwelcome by the band and athletic departments.
"We reached out to the band department, the athletics department, and they told us they did not want to be a part of it," Danielle Holmes said.
The team went through official mediation with the school and thought this year would be different.
Fernandes spoke to several students who said they should not have been moved.
"I think they should be able to dance there," one student said. "They’re dancing for the school so they should dance where the school sits."
Cox Media Group