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Cheerleaders: SIU administration hiding us during national anthem

Sophomore cheerleader Alaysia Brandy kneels behind Saluki Shakers during the national anthem Monday, Nov. 27, 2017, during the Salukis’ loss to the SIU Edwardville Cougars at SIU Arena. A recent change in protocol put into place by SIU Athletics has removed the cheerleaders from the playing surface of sporting events during the national anthem. (Brian Muñoz | @BrianMMunoz)

SIU cheerleaders who began protesting during the national anthem during the football season say that the administration is now trying to hide them at other sporting events. From the Daily Egyptian:

The incident took place three weeks after Hunt and sophomore cheerleaders Czarina Tinker and Alaysia Brandy knelt in protest during the national anthem before a football game against Northern Iowa.

Athletics spokesperson Tom Weber said that cheerleading coach Kelsey Baden communicated to him that the team was held from the pregame ceremonies during two volleyball matches because they were late on arriving and did not hear the start of the matches.

Brandy disputed that the cheerleaders were late, saying they arrived at the Salukis’ volleyball matchup against Illinois State at least 30 minutes before the commencement of the game.

“We know that the protocol was officially put into place at basketball [but] we feel as though we were strategically not put out during the anthem at volleyball games,” Brandy said. …

During a meeting on Nov.16 between Hunt, Tinker, Brandy and the chancellor, the cheerleaders said they raised concerns about being kept away from the public eye during the anthem.

Goldsmith said Chancellor Carlo Montemagno had approved a change in which all spirit teams would be stationed at the entrances of athletics facilities where they would greet customers and thank fans for attending games. When the cheerleaders raised concerns that the new protocol wasn’t being followed, Goldsmith said the chancellor addressed it and was not made aware of any additional problems.

Given the cheerleaders’ new concerns, Goldsmith said Montemagno would raise the issue with athletics and the chancellor’s office would then reach out to the cheerleaders to set up a meeting.

During the Saluki women’s basketball game against SIUE on Tuesday, the cheerleaders were placed in staging tunnels outside of the basketball court.

Weber said the cheerleaders were not intentionally put in that area, and it happened due to “a lack of execution” in implementing the new protocol.

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