President Larry Penley addressed the CSU Marching Band Wednesday afternoon to inform them of his regret for assaults that occurred this past weekend at the University of Colorado/CSU football game.
Thrown punches, hurled beer bottles, four letter words and saliva battered the CSU Marching Band on Saturday before the Frontier Airlines Rocky Mountain Showdown started at INVESCO Field at Mile High.
“I really regret the incident. I especially regret those of you who were injured and that those injuries occurred,” Penley said.
Steven Moore, director of bands at CSU, led the band into the stadium before the game. He said that as the band entered the stadium many members were physically pushed around by CU fans, one faculty member was punched in the face and a student was hit in the back of the neck.
“We were trying to just get into the game from the busses,” said Moore, who said that a mob of people blocked the stadium’s entrance not allowing the band to enter. “I personally saw five beer bottles thrown at the band.”
CSU Drum Major Susan Benson seconds those allegations.
“It happened as we were traveling from the parking lot to the stadium,” Benson said. “A group of 40 (CU) fans refused to move.”
Moore said the band stayed in control and did not respond to the taunting or assaults by staying in formation and keeping composure.
“None of our students (in the band) reacted to the taunting,” Moore said.
Penley was also happy with the reaction of the band.
While addressing them Wednesday he complimented the band for “responding civilly to a fairly provocative and difficult circumstance.”
The assault occurred before the band was able to get into the stadium.
“The director of percussion was punched and another girl was punched and another (band member) was kicked,” Benson said.
Some unruly fans had to be pulled off of the band members, said Adam Klatskin, senior assistant to the band.
“We’re an obvious target, (being that we) have such a large group of people,” Klatskin said. “I tried to pull CU fans off of (our band members).”
Although no serious injuries were reported and all the band members were able to participate in the game activities, the incident has not been forgotten, Klatskin said.
“I think that some of the newer people (in the band), you could look into their eyes and see that they were afraid,” Klatskin said.
The entire incident was more emotionally damaging than physically to the band, which is an important aspect to CSU, he said.
“It’s important that we are there. It’s important for the team,” Klatskin said.
Tom Milligan, media relations’ specialist and spokesperson for CSU, said both universities work together to allow for a safe game.
“I think we work very closely with CU to make sure there is a safe game atmosphere,” Milligan said.
Milligan also said the band and CSU Judicial Affairs is staying in touch with the Denver Police Department to keep updated.
“What we would hope is that fans support their teams in positive ways,” Milligan said.
CU is investigating the allegations and is taking the issue very seriously, said Pauline Hale, executive director of University Communications at CU.
“We were very disturbed to read the report and hear the reports of the alleged incidents,” Hale said.
It is unknown at this time if any of the fans involved in the incident were CU students, but Hale says repercussions will come to any students found to be breaking the Student Code of Ethics at CU.
“We would be concerned if (the incident) was the actions of some CU students,” Hale said. “We have requested the cooperation of the Denver Police Department to report any incidents (that involve CU students).”
Moore believes that not all CU students and fans should be labeled badly by this incident.
“I don’t think these students represent CU in any way. I personally feel like (the incident) is an isolated incident,” he said.
When the game moves to Boulder next year, Hale said, much planning will be done to ensure the safety of all people attending the game.
“There is always a great deal of planning that goes into effect for home games, in the case of rivalries, there is (also) a great level of planning,” Hale said.
Despite Saturday’s events, Benson still believes the Rocky Mountain Showdown is a good thing.
“I like the rivalry and want the game to continue,” she said.