Members of Georgia State University’s dance team are outraged after they were booted from the stands during a recent football game.
GSU’s “Crown Jewels” are speaking out on what they call ongoing issues and mistreatment by the school’s athletic department, WSB-TV reported. Although the group isn’t sanctioned by the athletic department, it is sanctioned by the university. GSU’s official dance team are The Pantherettes.
Still, the dancers say there’s no reason for the ill-treatment they’ve suffered.
The drama unfolded Thursday night at the football season opener against Kennesaw State University, which was muddled in its own controversy over cheerleaders kneeling during the national anthem. The Crown Jewels said they felt humiliated when security guards led by GSU officials came over and asked that they move from the home side to the visitor’s side.
“I’d say we were embarrassed, humiliated, it was frustrating,” said Danielle Holmes, one of the team’s captains.
A spokesman for the athletic department explained that the group was asked to move because they were taking up too much space in the stands.
“We asked [them to move] about four or five times,” spokesman Mike Holmes told WSB-TV, saying they were trying to fill up the seats with game attendees. “We continued to get, ‘We’re going to do what we wanna do.’ That’s the point where we got our security company involved.”
The dancers disagreed. Video of their performance that night showed at least five empty rows of seating behind them.
“People could’ve came and sat behind us, in front of us, next to us — they even could have sat with us,” said Danielle Holmes. “We weren’t hogging any seats. We didn’t have anything taped off.”
The university didn’t budge, however, arguing the team was still taking up too much room.
Danielle Holmes thinks her team was moved for other reasons. The team dances in an HBCU majorette style, when has been criticized for its sometimes risqué or sexual movements.
As reported by WSB-TV, the university officially sanctioned the Crown Jewels earlier this year, allowing them to dance in the stands. GSU also began funding the team, footing the bill for their uniforms this year. The ladies say the band and athletic department hasn’t done much to welcome them, however.
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 told the station.
The team has completed mediation with the school, though they hoped for a better outcome.
Watch more in the clip below.