Open Secret

A graduate student was suspended after allegations of sexual misconduct. Students say they felt he held his power over their heads.

Open Secret

A graduate student was suspended after allegations of sexual misconduct. Students say they felt he held his power over their heads. | @lydiagerike | @lydiagerike | @annabelaguiar | @jacob_decastro

David Jang, a graduate conducting student, was suspended from IU for a year in February after students accused him of abuses of power, including sexual misconduct toward male students.

Jang, who is 25 according to his Facebook page, managed the Jacobs School of Music’s paid Conductors Orchestra and also conducted the all-campus string orchestra, a class for non-music majors.

More than 20 people filed misconduct reports against Jang through the Office of Student Conduct, students said. Some students allege they either witnessed or experienced Jang touch, grope or kiss male students without their consent.

Before the allegations were reported, as rumors of Jang’s inappropriate actions began to spread, students say they became an open secret.

Ten students talked to the Indiana Daily Student for different aspects of this article, including some who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation from Jang or the music world.

About a dozen people testified in person against Jang at a Feb. 22 misconduct hearing, students who were there estimate. Some testified over the phone if they were at auditions or had already graduated.

Records regarding Jang’s alleged misconduct are kept private, according to university policy. Third parties such as the IDS do not have access to IU student disciplinary records.

The Office of Student Conduct filed three reports with the IU Police Department that included allegations of stalking, battery and on-campus harassment.

IUPD issued Jang a trespass warning, barring him from any IU property statewide from Feb. 1, 2019, through Feb. 1, 2020. The trespass warning report also confirms he was suspended.

Police reports

The Office of Student Conduct reported three instances of Jang’s alleged misconduct to IUPD. One account was said to have happened in the Musical Arts Center. A supplement case report details Jang’s trespass warning and suspension notice from IU.

Source Indiana University Police Department


Jang’s Facebook says he started at IU in 2015.

He is not currently a student, IU spokesperson Chuck Carney said. Jang is listed in the IU Directory as “Former Employee, Student.”

Paul Newman, professor emeritus and Jang’s faculty adviser who was at the hearing, said during an interview Tuesday he doesn’t know whether or not the claims against Jang are true because he wasn’t there to witness any of them. However, Newman said Jang didn’t have the power students claim he did, and those who came forward did so possibly because they were jealous of Jang’s talent.

To Newman, it seemed IU had already decided Jang had committed the alleged offenses before a hearing could even take place because he was given a summary suspension.

A summary suspension allows IU to remove a student from campus without following normal misconduct procedures if they decide the student is a “serious threat” to IU-related people or property.

“He was suspended because he was a danger to the IU community, and that seems ludicrous,” Newman said.

Newman said Jang filed a written appeal after his suspension was upheld following the hearing, which IU policy says is standard appeal procedure. The appeal was rejected by the Provost.

Jang, through Newman, declined to be interviewed for this story.


The classical music world is small and competitive. Students said recommendations and job prospects sometimes rely on relationships with others who can vouch for them.

This makes it easy for those in power to manipulate others, students said, and Jang’s friendship and connections felt like they could make or break a career.

Jang also had money and social influence, the students said.

They noticed his nice clothes, and he drove a BMW with the license plate “JANGBUS.” Public records indicate he is from California.

In the summers, he would travel to music festivals to hang out with other talented, connected musicians.

Students said Jang would throw and attend parties where the flow of alcohol never seemed to end.

There, many said they witnessed him touching people whose consent was questionable, and Jang would sometimes later blame the alcohol for his actions.

Jang used his power to take advantage of undergraduates who were scared of Jang and didn’t know how to make him stop, they said. For years, they stayed quiet, partly out of fear that Jang could ruin their careers both at the university and in the professional world.

Students told the IDS they are speaking out now because they are concerned Jang could continue to abuse power or harm other musicians if he were offered a position somewhere else.


They believe music school faculty remained largely unaware of the situation and at least some still don’t know what happened. IU policy states that under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, faculty must have a “legitimate educational interest” in a student to have access to any official information.

Other people who were contacted through friends or directly by the IDS said they did not want to talk for fear Jang would sue them, harass them or keep them from getting jobs. They also said they are afraid others in the music industry will blacklist them or pinpoint them as troublemakers.

Fresh in the institutional memory of the music school is another high-profile case in which a ballet lecturer, Guoping Wang, was arrested for the sexual assault of a dancer. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in 2017 and is serving probation. In that case, the dancer waited until after “The Nutcracker” performances were over to report the assault, highlighting a complicated intersection of performance, academics, collaboration, image and power.

Instrumentalists face similar complexities. But those who have come forward about Jang said telling their stories is long past due.


Colin Kulpa | IDS

Senior Bryan Bailey, a Jacobs School of Music student, plays his bass April 28 at the Musical Arts Center.

Bryan Bailey, a senior double bass performance major, testified before a panel as part of the sexual misconduct hearing process about Jang’s alleged unwanted touching.

In a report Bailey submitted to the Office of Student Conduct, he said Jang would put his hand inside Bailey’s shirt, hold Bailey’s hand and touch Bailey’s neck.

Once in spring 2016, Bailey said, he was sitting in the Musical Arts Center green room with his feet on a chair and knees up. Jang put his hand down Bailey’s pants and touched his upper thigh.

Bailey said he pushed Jang away.

“And he responded laughing hysterically, because he had power, and this was his game,” Bailey wrote in his report, the text of which he provided to the IDS.

Bailey testified at Jang’s hearing in front of a panel of two faculty members and a student, he said.

“Everything I was saying, they looked at me like they’d heard it 10 times before,” Bailey said.

Max Mulpagano, another senior bassist, said he thought Jang seemed charismatic when they first met, but he started to realize things were more complicated.

Once, Jang told Mulpagano he would have to be Jang’s boyfriend if he wanted to play for Jang.

“He’s really good with manipulating his social influence,” Mulpagano said.

“He’s really good with manipulating his social influence.”

— Max Mulpagano

At a recital in January 2018 backstage at IU’s Auer Hall, Mulpagano said Jang unbuttoned Mulpagano’s shirt and touched his chest.

Mulpagano said he can’t remember if he said out loud that he wanted Jang to stop, but he knows he pulled away and made it clear with his body language that he did not want to be touched.

His friend Will Kline, another bassist who said he witnessed the full incident, provided the IDS with the text of a report he filed to the university. It said Jang continued to touch Mulpagano “after asked, rather assertively, to stop.”

Kline, a junior, also documented other abuses he was aware of in his report. He said Jang would diminish students’ musical abilities and that he would grope or kiss students without their consent.

“I've seen and heard of David's misbehavior for several years, and the environment he creates at school and elsewhere is downright dangerous,” Kline wrote in his report. “David is a rather powerful person at JSOM, and he is grossly misusing that power.”

Sam House | IDS

Junior Will Kline warms up before a performance April 28 at St. Thomas Lutheran Church in Bloomington.

In an interview with the IDS, Kline said his view of Jang was largely positive during his first semester at IU in fall 2016. He saw the talented people Jang hung around, and Jang’s personality seemed to be wild and cool.

“If you didn’t know this guy was such a predator, you would think, ‘Oh, wow, this guy is like awesome,’” Kline said.

But that began to change, especially the following year when he heard how uncomfortable Jang was making other students.

Kline started to avoid parties and other events if he knew Jang would be there, he said. He had considered speaking up but figured one voice wouldn't make a difference, especially because he was never directly affected. He also knew Jang was connected to professors who could influence Kline’s experience at the music school.

When people started banding together and finally sending reports, he decided it was time to join.

“I truly don’t know how David got to the point he was at at Jacobs,” Kline said.


A scared friend called junior Wilfred Farquharson around 1:45 a.m. Jan. 26 with another story, this time of how David had just verbally and physically harassed him at Bear’s Place.

Farquharson finally decided he had to do something about Jang. Throughout his time at IU, the viola performance major said, he had known of many instances such as this one where Jang used his power to hurt students.

Farquharson put four posts on a Snapchat story after he got off the phone criticizing the way people still hung around a man they claimed to hate.

“I’m honestly getting real mf tired of people talking about sexual misconduct but then people still flocking to him like Mother Goose,” one of the posts provided by Farquharson read.

“I’m honestly getting real mf tired of people talking about sexual misconduct but then people still flocking to him like Mother Goose.”

— Wilfred Farquharson wrote in a Snapchat post

Although Farquharson didn’t call Jang out by name, he said many people knew exactly who he was talking about.

Throughout the years, Farquharson said he watched as Jang harassed and bullied his friends and other students. He told the IDS he was “constantly hearing a new David terrorization story.”

Everyone always seemed upset but too afraid to say anything, Farquharson said. People assumed Jang had more connections and opportunities than other students could get, even though that wasn’t always true.

“I have no reason to truly fear David,” he said.


After talking to a faculty member, he learned he could report Jang to the university. He submitted a report Jan. 26.

Then, as Farquharson told others how they could report Jang, it seemed as if a dam broke. The reports of alleged misconduct piled in from people who said they had seen and experienced it.

A group met with music school dean Gwyn Richards, and the students involved said he didn’t know about the allegations against Jang until they came forward. The dean’s office declined to talk for this article, citing FERPA.


One of Jang’s roles was conducting the all-campus orchestra, a class for non-music majors who play string instruments.

Carmen Paul-García, a senior Spanish education major who plays viola in the orchestra, said music professor Frank Diaz took over the class about halfway through the semester.

At the beginning of one rehearsal, Paul-García said, students were told Jang was no longer in charge because he had overcommitted himself.

Sam House | IDS

Light shines on Will Kline’s bass before a performance April 28 in St. Thomas Lutheran Church in Bloomington.

Paul-García said it made sense to her at the time. This was her fourth semester being led by Jang in the orchestra, and she said he would often cancel class, both in advance and last minute.

It felt like Jang didn’t think they were good enough, she said, especially because he would bring in Jacobs string students to play in the concerts as if he were trying make the orchestra sound better.

Paul-García said she didn’t know about Jang’s suspension or any claims against him before being contacted by the IDS, but she said she wasn’t surprised.

In class, he would often make things awkward by trying to sound cool, telling them about his habits at bars or making weirdly sexual comments or jokes.

“Just in general, he kind of seemed a little creepy sometimes,” she said.


Bailey said it was always in the back of his mind that Jang, when he was still at the school, could be watching him play. Now he said he doesn’t have to worry about Jang being in the audience anymore.

When Bailey plays his bass in a small MAC practice room, the sound fills the room and reverberates through his body.

He clenches his jaw in concentration, and the muscles in his forearm flex as his fingers zero in on the notes. It’s a full body experience, he said, like playing on a jungle gym.

“Everything that happens in your music is a result of your state of being,” Bailey said.

Playing the bass has been much easier lately, Bailey said. He doesn’t feel so conscious of his every move.

Around the school, he said both the conducting and instrumental students seem more at ease.

Some are graduating and moving on. Mulpagano is going to the Yale School of Music next year for a graduate degree. Bailey is staying at IU to work toward a performer diploma.

He’s not focused on what happened to him as much anymore. He’s focused on the music.

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About this story

This story was reported over the course of two months. Many of the allegations in this article are backed up by police reports and the text of student conduct reports provided by those who wrote them. The IDS talked to 10 students for this article who had either experienced or witnessed Jang behave in ways they say are inappropriate. Jang and his faculty adviser for the case were also contacted multiple times.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual harassment or assault, go here for a list of resources.

If you want to share your own misconduct story about Jang or professors, instructors, coaches or people you feel have power within the university, email

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