On Jan. 27, the Indiana Daily Student published an investigation regarding sexual assault findings against IU jazz student Chris Parker. Since, the IDS has reported multiple follow-up stories regarding events following publication.
In my last letter to our readers, I promised the IDS would continue to be transparent regarding our reporting processes. So, I would like to address some concerns brought up regarding the article ‘Dissonance in due process.’
We have heard claims and questions from the community, faculty and IU professor Monika Herzig regarding whether Herzig’s quotes in the investigation were being taken out of context. The IDS takes these claims seriously. Over the past few days, editors have reviewed the audio, transcript and communications with Herzig. After completing our assessment of the materials and communication with the reporter, we believe the investigation’s reporter, Cate Charron, did not take Herzig out of context in the investigation.
Herzig was directly quoted three times. This includes the following:
“For somebody that talented, what is our right to squish that career?”
“He's been a victim of a bunch of weird circumstances.”
“One of those teenage moments.”
The initial interview between Charron and Herzig was Dec. 3, 2021, over Zoom, lasting about 45 minutes. They spoke in depth about women in jazz at IU, Herzig’s experience as a women in jazz and her knowledge of Chris Parker’s sexual assault allegations.
Charron called Herzig the morning of Jan. 25 to check facts and contributions prior to publishing. The quotes included in the story were also read aloud. This process is not for Herzig, or any source, to retract previous statements, which the IDS does not allow, but to make sure the reporter is correctly reporting and putting in context what was said during the interview.
The IDS does not require calling to fact check. However, Charron did with all of her sources, including Herzig, due to the nature of the topic. Normally, IDS reporters refer to their transcripts and notes for fact checking.
Herzig did not raise any concerns regarding her context in that phone call.
The following are three questions Charron asked, which led to each of the three quotes, along with Herzig’s full answers. This transcript is raw. Therefore, it may seem wordy or confusing as a result of natural speech. Audio clips are provided for clarity and transparency.
Charron: “Moving into IU, I know so the allegations came out in 2015. And then he was eventually in 20-, eventually suspended in 2016. Like, when did you first kind of hear about these allegations? And what, I know a lot of people, there's a lot of talk, so kind of how did that all go down? When? With you? I guess.
Herzig: “Well, I actually knew for me from the very beginning, you know, because I'm very close with his dad and his mom. And so, So what's happening. And I actually know, so did the other party and the new boyfriend who also took piano lessons with me. Really well and it's, um, you know, honestly, one of those things. Who can say as a teenager that like you never tried a little alcohol or you know, did something? I don't think there's any teenager out there that comes up clean on being oh, is this super good kids? So for my perception, I think this is a circumstances you know, it's an ex girlfriend, you have a new boyfriend involved. There's friction feelings. There's, I don't think anybody I mean, obviously the IU trials show that really there was not any proof from any party that actually really what happened and you're in the Media School.”
Editor’s Note: During this interview, Charron was sitting in a room in Franklin Hall with motion-activated lights. After sitting for about 30 minutes, the lights turned off in the room, leading to the few laughs heard in the audio. Neither Charron nor Herzig were laughing about the allegations being spoken about.
The “new boyfriend” Herzig refers to is Matthew Waterman, a then-jazz student who helped Shailey Ostlund report Parker to the university for sexual assault. Ostlund and Waterman later dated and were married. They were no longer married as of spring 2021.
“And so it could never be proven there's so many factors involved, I mean, from, from an outside perspective of not being there at the moment, you know, I, I can't and I don't want to do any judgment and to put somebody’s complete career on the line of, you know, one of those teenage moments, which obviously, I'm sure there was due diligence from all parties from from IU to make sure, you know, to look at it because that's not something IU takes lightly. And the only reason he got expelled eventually was because initially was just the ban from campus for a year. But he was playing with a really great clarinet player and was a wonderful opportunity and, and he was invited to do a performance for WFIU. And, you know, with him being driven so much about the music and to perform, he, he performed with him at the studios, which was then determined as being IU property. And that was the reason he got expelled. So it's not like, invading somebody's privacy by, by purpose. So it's a lot of these really tricky circumstances that we have come together.”
Editor’s Note: According to Charron’s reporting, the IDS did not find that Parker was expelled. After conversations with other faculty members and the fact that he is a current student, the IDS reports he was suspended instead. The ban from campus Herzig mentioned is referring to Parker’s first suspension.
Charron: “Going back to like the students I know, in 2018, there was multiple students who like drafted and signed a petition speaking about how they didn't really want Parker back in the department, and they felt kind of, like, worried for their own safety. Did you ever hear about that? And like, kind of, like, What's your stance on that?”
Editor’s Note: In her question, Charron misstated the year in which a petition was organized and delivered to faculty. The correct year was 2017.
Herzig: “Right, and those are all the girls I've played with too. It's, it's tricky situation, especially for somebody, you know, who's an advocate for women in jazz. And, you know, and it's they’re right, and if they don't feel safe, they should speak up. And I believe that was separated. Again, you know, my stance is I'm, I'm for second chances, given, who teenager has a clean slate, which, who anybody before they turn 20 did not do anything stupid. So my stance is show who you really are. And for somebody that talented, you know, what is our right to squish that career if there's not really, really, really, really, really proof of concern and evidence.
Charron: “Okay, yeah. I didn't have very many questions on Chris (Parker), because I know, I mean, it's kind of like a lot of people don't have, like, concrete, you know, information about the case and all that. But is there anything else, like kind of, that you want to talk about regarding, like, Chris (Parker) or any of that?”
Herzig: “You know, I'm taking the hands off approach. I hire him because he's a really, really great musician. I don't have any points of concerns. I've never witnessed any issues ever. I known him since he's a little kid. I believe, you know, he's been a victim of a bunch of weird circumstances, and we need to, we need to know how to give chances. I mean, obviously, it's good to observe and I'm sure, you know, he learned a very, very, very hard lesson. I mean, just imagine trying to be in that skin and getting attacked like that socially and everywhere and trying to prevail to pursue your craft and what you love to do. It's a hard situation to be in.”
We will continue to be transparent in our reporting processes and hope that this provides clarification to the quotes in question.
The IDS plans to continue coverage of this important series of events. To find all related content to this investigation, this landing page will be updated frequently with new information and articles.
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