The cheerleading squad at North Carolina A&T will see limited duties while the school investigates claims by one cheerleader that she was raped.
Raina Gee, a member of the Blue Squad cheer team at NC A&T alleges she was raped by a graduating senior. She says she reported the rape to her coaching staff, which is obligated by law to report the matter to Title IX staff within 24 hours of receiving the information.
Gee says the staff did nothing of the sort. In the end, she filed a police report on her own and decided to write an open letter about the assault and how the matter was mishandled. Now she’s calling for the firing of the entire cheerleading staff.
"Y’all sweep a lot of cases under the run but you’re not gonna sweep me under the rug this ends with me," Gee said. "To me, coaches are supposed to be there not only to tell you to run bleachers or run a lap, they need to be there for you emotionally and my coaches failed to do that, they were not there for me emotionally."
It’s been a week since Gee’s letter was published and now the NC AT&T athletic department has announced that the Blue Squad will not cheer at basketball games while the university looks into how coaches handled the situation.
Associate athletics director Brian Holloway sent the following official statement to the Greensboro NBC affiliate:
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.
For her part, Gee says she's glad to finally be heard.
"Anyone dealing with this please don’t think you’re not strong because it’s hard," she said. "It’s really hard because you have to go through people saying that you’re lying, people bully you, people mistreat you because of what you’re going through and I just commend anyone going through this."