IU suspended a music student after finding him responsible for sexually assaulting another student.

He was warned if he violated the terms of that suspension, he would be expelled or face police charges, or both.

But after he violated his suspension, he was readmitted to the Jacobs School of Music in 2020.


IU suspended a music student for sexually assaulting another student.

He was warned if he violated the terms of that suspension, he would be expelled or face police charges, or both.

But after he violated his suspension, he was readmitted to the Jacobs School of Music in 2020.

Editor’s Note: This story mentions multiple depictions of sexual abuse and assault. For anyone wishing to report a sexual assault or find help, a list of resources is provided at the end of the article.

Chris Parker was only a freshman, but he was already making a name for himself as a star drummer in the jazz studies program of the Jacobs School of Music. That winter, another IU student accused Parker of sexually assaulting her.

Shailey Ostlund, also a freshman, told investigators that Parker sexually assaulted her on Halloween in 2015 in a residence hall parking lot. She said Parker invited her to his Jeep and then leaned over the console and began touching her. When she tried to escape, she said she discovered that Parker had locked the doors.

Parker denied the allegation, but Ostlund filed a complaint to the university. After a six-month investigation, IU found the drummer responsible and suspended him for about 13 months.

A letter sent to Ostlund with the outcome of the hearing and suspension information reads:

“The panel determined that based off a preponderance of the evidence standard, Mr. Parker had sexual contact with IU student, Shailey Ostlund, without her consent and/or when he should have known that she was mentally or physically incapable of resisting or appreciating the nature of her conduct.”

According to the terms of the suspension, Parker was forbidden from setting foot on campus. If he violated the no trespass order, IU told him he would be expelled or charged by police, or both. But when Parker broke those terms, returning to campus to record at a radio station, the university did not follow through. He wasn’t expelled, and the IU Police Department confirms that no violation was reported. Instead, IU simply suspended Parker again.

Why did the university cut Parker a break? IU officials won’t comment on any student’s conduct record in alignment with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.


What happened to Ostlund that night evolved to be much larger than herself and Parker. The university’s and Jacobs’ response, or lack thereof, to the Ostlund’s case and Parker’s consequences has caused a ripple effect within the community of current students and alumni of the jazz studies department.

In the over six years since Ostlund’s assault, Parker served two suspensions and returned to take classes at IU’s prestigious music school in 2020. He is currently finishing his undergraduate degree.

IU alumna Abby Malala is helping organize an open letter expressing disapproval in the university’s decision to allow Parker back as a student.

“They say in Jacobs, ‘if you can play, that's all we care about,’ especially in the jazz scene,” Malala said. “They apply that logic to people like Chris Parker.”

She was motivated to do so after she saw Parker performing at a local music festival, called Realfest, on July 17, 2021, in Dunn Meadow. The festival organizers apologized to the community for his inclusion soon after.

Multiple jazz faculty members played with Parker in off-campus gigs and on his album during his first suspension spanning June 2016 to July 2017. They continue to play with Parker in gigs. However, the university did not communicate much information to jazz faculty regarding Parker’s disciplinary record or allegations, which IU says is due to FERPA protections. Jacobs faculty and staff said this caused them to be largely in the dark.

Multiple current students, alumni and faculty said Parker is a great talent in the school based on his playing ability on the drums. Parker started attending IU and Jacobs in 2015 on a full-tuition scholarship, majoring in jazz studies, according to his website. Many alumni allege he wouldn’t have been given so many breaks had he not been so talented.

“For somebody that talented, what is our right to squish that career?” IU professor Monika Herzig said. “He's been a victim of a bunch of weird circumstances.”

Students have said they feel unheard. In a 2017 petition when Parker returned to school for the first time, female students said their feeling of safety in the department was jeopardized. Parker was suspended soon after due to a violation of his original suspension.

Looking back, Ostlund and other alleged victims of sexual abuse believe the system failed them.

Parker did not respond when the Indiana Daily Student reached out to him nine times for comment or an interview.

As of the night of Jan. 26, Parker deactivated his Facebook and Instagram as well as his website. This was done prior to this article publishing.

Ostlund in Chicago
Former IU student Shailey Ostlund, seen Oct. 2, 2021, in Chicago, said she was sexually assualted by fellow student Chris Parker in 2015. Parker, following two suspensions stemming from the assault, is re-enrolled at IU in the Jacobs School of Music.

Ostlund started attending IU as a freshman during the fall semester of 2015. She grew up in Bloomington, attended Bloomington High School North and had a good number of friends, including Parker, in the area.

On Halloween, Ostlund, Parker and their friends were partying and drinking in a dorm room at Forest Quadrangle. Parker asked the group if anyone wanted to go down to his car to smoke with him. Ostlund, who said she was heavily intoxicated, was the only person to oblige.

Walking down to the van, Ostlund fought with herself. She and Parker had a history — they had dated in high school for nine months, a relationship she described as unhealthy, toxic and abusive.

She had hung out with Parker a few times in college, afraid to say no to his invitations. She felt they could be just friends, but she was still nervous and didn’t fully trust him. She said he understood her, and she wanted him to care for her.

But she still followed him out to the van that night. She didn’t think he would do anything with her friends upstairs.


They climbed into his Jeep van in the residence hall parking lot and began talking. Ostlund confided in him about keeping up with her classes and struggling with her depression and anxiety. She just wanted someone to confide in, and he was a great listener.

Parker began leaning in over the center console. She told him to stop. She told him no.

Panic exploded in her head. Her only thought was that she needed to get out.

At that moment, she said she had realized he had locked the doors.

Parker molested her and attempted penetration with his hands and mouth, Ostlund said.

She fumbled around the center console of the van, searching for escape. She found the button to unlock the doors and stumbled out of the van toward the residence hall’s doors. She called her friend on the phone to let her in and pretended to still be on the line once they hung up.

“I was so overwhelmed with everything”

After Parker’s assault, Ostlund’s mental health rapidly declined. She said sometimes she couldn’t bring herself to even leave her father’s house in fear of seeing Parker.

OSTLUND: I was so overwhelmed with everything. I knew that I just needed to be in a place that was safe, which was my dad's house, because I didn't trust myself outside. And I couldn't handle it. I couldn't handle being in school and I couldn't handle seeing people. I especially couldn't handle the idea of seeing Chris.

“I was so overwhelmed with everything”

After Parker’s assault, Ostlund’s mental health rapidly declined. She said sometimes she couldn’t bring herself to even leave her father’s house in fear of seeing Parker.

OSTLUND: I was so overwhelmed with everything. I knew that I just needed to be in a place that was safe, which was my dad's house, because I didn't trust myself outside. And I couldn't handle it. I couldn't handle being in school and I couldn't handle seeing people. I especially couldn't handle the idea of seeing Chris.

It was about 3 a.m. She was alone and feared he would do something else.

Her friend let her back inside and they returned to the dorm room. Ostlund sat contemplating what had happened, the thoughts thrashing in her head. She recorded a video, which was used as evidence, of herself documenting what she said happened in the van.

“Shailey, you're recording this video just so that you remember that Chris assaulted you tonight,” Ostlund recalls saying in the video.

She thought she was too drunk. She thought she wouldn’t remember. She felt she needed to remind herself for the next day.

Today, she retains a few memories from that span of months and years after her case. But she hasn’t forgotten a detail of the assault.

She dropped out of IU less than a month later.

Ostlund’s mental health plummeted, and she was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. She was living in a constant state of fear. She had multiple panic attacks a week. She couldn’t hold a full-time job. Just hearing Parker’s name triggered her. She stopped leaving the safety of her dad’s house. Going out meant seeing people. Going out meant she may see him.

“I was really struggling to survive and to just be myself,” Ostlund said. “I was just really worried that I'm Shailey, I'm the person that Chris Parker assaulted.”


Ostlund opened a case against Parker to the then-named IU Office of Student Ethics and Anti-Harassment Programs in December 2015, with IU beginning to work on her case in January.

What Ostlund said happened to her falls into the university’s definition of forcible fondling, the touching of another person’s body for their own sexual gratification non-consensually. The university considers this act to be within its definition of sexual assault.

Since Ostlund had no physical evidence of the sexual assault, she didn’t go to the police. However, she said she was able to receive a restraining order through the Bloomington Police Department against Parker when the university’s protective order expired.

Police ask that sexual assaults be reported as soon as possible so police have a greater chance to gather the evidence needed to make an arrest, according to IU’s Stop Sexual Violence initiative. However, assaults can be reported without seeking prosecution and police can take steps, knowing of the report, to keep students safe.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without help”

Ostlund reported Parker's assault to the then-named IU Office of Student Ethics and Anti-Harassment Programs with the help of Matthew Waterman, Parker’s roommate and a high school friend of both Parker and Ostlund.

OSTLUND: I’ve always considered myself to be a feminst, since the moment I knew what the word “feminism” was. And I never thought that I would be the person who would be in a situation like this because I always thought I would be able to stand up for myself and say no. I always wanted to be the person who was able to report something like this but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without help.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without help”

Ostlund reported Parker's assault to the then-named IU Office of Student Ethics and Anti-Harassment Programs with the help of Matthew Waterman, Parker’s roommate and a high school friend of both Parker and Ostlund.

OSTLUND: I’ve always considered myself to be a feminst, since the moment I knew what the word “feminism” was. And I never thought that I would be the person who would be in a situation like this because I always thought I would be able to stand up for myself and say no. I always wanted to be the person who was able to report something like this but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without help.

Ostlund said the office told her at the beginning that the investigation and hearing process into her allegations would take a maximum of six weeks. Instead, she had to endure a six-month process. The extended time span forced Ostlund to continuously revisit her trauma. She said she retold her story over and over, trying to find a way to make university staff listen, believe and care.

“I was not in a place where I could be spending all of my time thinking about this,” Ostlund said. “And the amount of time that I had to spend thinking about it already was overwhelming.”

Kathy Adams Riester, associate vice provost for student affairs, said the amount of time each case takes changes due to the variability of factors, like how many witnesses there are and the amount of information that is available. She said the Office of Student Conduct investigators work to make the process as thorough and timely as possible. Libby Spotts, senior associate dean of student affairs and director and deputy of sexual misconduct & title IX coordinator, said the office attempts to give the person making a complaint a time period based on the number of witnesses and amount of information needed to be investigated.

Ostlund said working with the office for the investigation was like working with a brick wall because she had trouble submitting information. She said there were few helpful resources for her emotionally.


“I don't think that they appreciate how difficult it is to be on the other side of it,” Ostlund said. “I have worked really hard just to try to get IU to understand the gravity of the situation.”

Spotts said the investigators collect evidence through interviews, witnesses and given information. Investigators will reach out to those involved asking for their help in this collection, she said.

A major consideration during this process is the mental health of the person reporting, Spotts said. Investigators try to be as transparent as possible with those involved, she said, and interview people with their trauma in mind while collecting information. Confidential Victim Advocates is a resource for students who want extra updates and to talk through the process.

A preponderance of evidence in a student conduct case means the evidence provided to investigators shows that a violation of the Code of Conduct is more likely than not to have occurred, Adams Riester said in an email.

In June 2016, an IU hearing panel found Parker responsible of sexually assaulting Ostlund and suspended him for just over a year. Ostlund received a no contact order and a letter noting the consequences if Parker violated his suspension.

Suspension Letter

Following a six-month long investigation, IU found Chris Parker responsible for sexually assaulting Shailey Ostlund in 2015. Parker was suspended for about 13 months, meaning he couldn’t step foot on campus. If he did, IU said he would be expelled or reported to the police, or both.

Source Shailey Ostlund


Letter of Suspension
Letter of Suspension

Before his suspension had expired, Parker was back on campus in spring 2017 to play at a local radio station, according to six sources. He returned to classes in fall 2017 but was promptly dropped from them. Ostlund assumed he had been expelled at this point since Parker did not have a criminal record. The terms of his suspension meant at least one of the two should have happened, according to the letter.

Ostlund then learned Parker was back taking classes at IU during the fall semester of 2020. When she questioned the Office of Institutional Equity about his return, she says they told her they decided to suspend him a second time instead of expelling him, and she could not appeal.

Ostlund said it is frustrating to have gone through what she described as an emotionally difficult reporting and hearing process just for the outcomes of that system to not be upheld. Still, she doesn’t regret going through that process.

She was glad Parker received a punishment, but she said she thinks now there should be a harsher consequences for sexual assault. To many, she said Parker’s suspensions and punishment can be considered a successful outcome of the system compared to the many cases without such a verdict.


In the fall of 2017, after she and her boyfriend eventually broke up, IU jazz alumna Elena Escudero says she was hanging out with Parker at a mutual friend’s house when she claims he raped her. She remembers being frozen. She says she could not get out the word ‘no.’

According to IU’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy, consent is mutally expressed through voluntary words and actions. Thus, it cannot be assumed based on silence, including the lack of the word ‘no’ or a history of prior sexual activity.

Escudero transferred to IU in fall 2016 as a vocalist in jazz studies. She didn’t have many friends other than her boyfriend and his friends. And he was friends with Parker.

When Parker was serving his first suspension, she couldn’t get a straight answer from her friends as to why. Asking them why spurred awkward conversations rather than answers. Parker eventually told her he was innocent and that Ostlund had a vendetta against him, and she came to believe it. She said she gave him the benefit of the doubt and felt she had to uphold her loyalty to him.


After the alleged assault, she said she had to compartmentalize what had happened to live her life, ultimately tucking it away and not coming to terms with it. She did not report the alleged sexual assault to the university or talk to others about what she said happened. At the time, she was still friends with Parker’s friends and felt she had no one to talk to about it. She said she still blames herself and felt like she couldn’t talk about it because she thought her circumstances were different than other sexual assaults.

“There was a period of severe isolation after the incident because there's a lot of shame,” she said. “I felt ashamed to even have been in this situation.”

Escudero said she didn’t speak much with Parker after that, and she felt he knew he crossed a line. Afterward, she felt he was trying to get on her good side, getting her a job at a radio station and introducing her to musicians. She walked away from releasing an album Parker helped her arrange.

She eventually started speaking with other students in the department and hearing the other side of Ostlund’s story. She started receiving support from her peers to think about and confront what happened.

“It's always there,” Escudero said. “But I just haven't had people that I felt comfortable talking to about it.”


A musical hierarchy develops with the best players on top, IU jazz alumnus Evan Main said, and those players develop an enlarged ego only to be stroked by everyone around them. Parker is a great musician, Mainsaid, so when he is placed back into the top bands upon return, it becomes a very troubling situation.

“He's sort of being propped up again now like he is on top of the world again,” Main said. “That can definitely have bad consequences for the other students.”

Parker has been immersed in the Bloomington jazz community since he was young. In high school, he performed in the top ensemble with multiple instruments and was awarded numerous honors, according to his website. Since starting college, he has played frequently with numerous musicians, such as Frank Glover, Charlie Ballantine and Jamey Aebersold.

Portrait of Brandon Drake

Cate Charron | IDS

Chris Parker plays the drums at the B’Town Jazz Fest on Sept. 4, 2021, at Woolery Mill in Bloomington. Parker is the president of B’Town Jazz.
Portrait of Brandon Drake

Cate Charron | IDS

Chris Parker plays the drums at the B’Town Jazz Fest on Sept. 4, 2021, at Woolery Mill in Bloomington. Parker is the president of B’Town Jazz.

Currently, he is the president of B’Town Jazz, a non-profit putting on jazz events and programming. He previously served as its vice president. He said on his website that he is on the University of Indianapolis jazz faculty. According to his LinkedIn, Parker was a visiting lecturer and instructor at Olney Central College in Olney, Illinois, and has been a music educator teaching people of all ages percussion, low brass and saxophone.

When the department was made aware of Parker’s situation, jazz studies department chair Thomas Walsh said the dean told the department they were not allowed to talk about it. He said he received no information or protocols regarding Parker’s suspension, including the reason why. He said he received no direct communication from the dean of students. All information faculty received was secondhand, he said, including that he was suspended and the time frame. He said he still has no knowledge of what was reported.

Walsh said the department has no role in the suspension process, hearings nor discipline of a student. He said all cases, including Parker’s, go through the Dean of Students Office, and they have the authority to determine he could return to school.

The dean of the specific school is made aware when a student is suspended or expelled, Kathy Adams Riester, associate vice provost for student affairs, said in an email. The dean would then pass on any information, which is subject to FERPA, from that memo to faculty, if necessary.

Libby Spotts said the dean would pass down information if it meant a faculty or staff member would need to know. They don’t necessarily need to communicate that it was a conduct record issue, she said.

Monika Herzig, senior lecturer for the O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, has known Parker since he was in fifth grade and is close with his parents. She is involved in the local jazz community, playing the piano.

When the allegations were brought up, Herzig said she had an outside, hands-off perspective, but there are a lot of factors involved in the story that make it complex. She said she doesn’t want to cast judgment and put someone’s career on the line in these circumstances, calling the assault allegations “one of those teenage moments.”

She said a lot of misinformation spread regarding the situation, and people jump to conclusions because they saw others doing the same. She said there is no proof of what actually happened.

However, the university did find that Parker responsible for sexually assaulting Ostlund through an evidence-collection and hearing process in spring 2016.

Describing herself as an advocate for women in jazz, Herzig said it was tricky when women spoke up and said they didn’t feel safe. But, she said she believes in second chances and asks what teenager hasn’t done something stupid.

Parker routinely played gigs with multiple members of Jacobs jazz studies faculty during his initial suspension. Professor of Music Luke Gillespie said he and other faculty members each made personal decisions whether or not to not play with Parker while he was suspended in the interest of the other students in the department.

However, Parker announced in multiple Facebook posts during this period that he was playing gigs with faculty members during his initial suspension.

Parker's Gigs

During his suspension, Chris Parker continued to play gigs with Jacobs School of Music faculty, which was not against the terms of his suspension. He documented it on his Facebook.

Screenshots from Parker's Facebook page


Parker's Facebook post
Parker's Facebook post
Parker's Facebook post
Parker's Facebook post
Parker's Facebook post
Parker's Facebook post
Parker's Facebook post
Parker's Facebook post
Parker's Facebook post

IU jazz alumna Ellie Pruneau said Parker had been recruited to that school for a long time. Because many faculty members knew him since he was young, she said they don’t see him as a bad person, and what happened was just a problem of the past.

“He was like their shining star,” Pruneau said.

After finding out about Ostlund’s allegations, IU jazz alumna Hannah Marks spoke to a professor about what had happened. She said the faculty couldn’t do much to remedy the problem since handling the situation was not in the professors’ or even Jacobs’s hands.

Parker released an album titled “Moving Forward Now” in August 2017, with four members of the Jacobs jazz studies faculty. This included Gillespie, Professor of Music Pat Harbison, Interim Jacobs Bicentennial Dean Jeremy Allen and Adjunct Lecturer Dave Stryker. Adjunct Lecturer Rachel Caswell was included but was not a jazz faculty member at the time. Monika Herzig was also featured.

The album features musicians who are some of Parker’s biggest mentors, according to a Facebook post from Parker.

When Parker released the album with multiple faculty members, Pruneau said it felt like they shoved all of his personal problems to the side because they liked and wanted to continue playing with him. Marks said she felt the faculty playing on the album as well as on gigs off campus during and after his suspensions were giving Parker their stamp of approval.

“That's the thing that I don't think the faculty members understand,” Marks said. “It just creates a really bad environment where that's essentially the professor saying this behavior is tolerable.”

The date of the first recording session was April 23, 2017, at off-campus recording studio Airtime Records, according to Parker’s Facebook. This date falls within the period of Parker’s first suspension.

According to the student code, suspended students aren’t supposed to have contact with faculty regarding academic pursuits. However, Libby Spotts said what faculty does in their private lives with students does not fall in the university’s jurisdiction to control. If a gig is off campus and members of Jacobs faculty perform with that student, Spotts said IU cannot control this collaboration.

Caswell said in a statement to the IDS that the album’s recording was considered a professional activity rather than an academic one. She said she takes any allegations seriously, but only Ostlund and Parker know what happened, and their hearings are kept private. She said there was nothing in Parker’s track record with herself and other professionals that would have prevented her from working with him.

“Barring any direct knowledge of the alleged incident, I determined that I could only reasonably use the same criteria to decide whether to play with Chris that I would use with any other musician,” Caswell said in a statement.

Harbison said in an email statement that faculty were to send those inquiring about Parker to the dean of students and that they have not been told anything about this case.

Interim Jacobs Bicentennial Dean Jeremey Allen requested interview questions in advance and review of this story before publishing in return for an interview. Per IDS policies, neither request can be granted. Allen then declined an interview, citing his hesitancy to speak on topic due to its proximity to “Title IX requirements.”


After seeing faculty’s support of Parker and how he was allowed back to IU, alumna Abby Malala did not see the point of reporting her abuser to the university.

Malala said she was sexually abused by another student starting in 2016 when she was in the jazz studies program for just under two years. She said she didn’t feel supported by her program, nor did she think to report it to the university.

“It's not just that they were turning a blind eye to the fact that Chris was an abuser. They were and are still actively supporting him.”

- Abby Malala, IU alumna

She said the way Parker’s situation was handled shows students in the department that abusers will receive a slap on the wrist, continue to be hired for gigs and be welcomed back to school.

Escudero said she believes Parker should have been expelled after he violated his first suspension. Now that he is back at school for a third time, she said she fears he might cause harm to someone else.

“Had he not been in that space and been allowed to edge back into IU, maybe I wouldn't have ever been that involved with him,” she said. “Maybe the (alleged) assault would have never even happened.”

Escudero said there is a cognitive dissonance within the department regarding certain behavior and sexual harassment. With so few women in the program, she said it’s hard to have a community to support one another.

IU alumna Hannah Fidler said Parker’s case is an example of how IU’s process can fail the people who rely on it. He went through the system, and IU made a decision to suspend him. Yet, she said there seems to be no healing, justice or prevention.

After graduating from Jacobs in 2017, Fidler moved to Chicago and worked at Masjid Al-Rabia, which is an LGBTQ-centered, women-led Islamic community center, for about two years. There, she said she sometimes worked with sexual offenders and victims and designs programming meant to allow people to heal and have conversations.

“Banishing a person, with no other work done, and then just letting them back in…nothing is really solved,” Fidler said.

There are processes allowing an abuser and survivors to eventually coexist in the same community, she said, but IU didn’t elect to use those techniques and appears to not have made any effort at community healing. If the university does not adhere to that, she said it should prioritize protecting those most at risk — in this case, by not allowing Parker to return.

“It's no wonder that so few people choose to go through it,” Fidler said of IU’s sexual assault reporting and hearing process.

IU jazz alumna Hannah Marks said introducing Parker back into the department is detrimental to building a safe environment that protects students. With Parker's most recent return, Marks said it worries her that he was placed back into the top ensembles, or back into positions of power.


Marks first met Parker at a Jamey Aebersold summer camp during her sophomore year of high school when Jacobs Professor of Music Pat Harbison introduced him to her as a recommended contact. When she arrived at IU her freshman year, Marks began to talk to Parker more, eventually becoming friends with him. She even played her first gig in Bloomington with Parker.

“He was presented to me by the faculty as like a wunderkind and someone that I should really be connected with,” Marks said. “I already kind of was looking up to him when I first started getting to know him.”

Marks learned about the allegations from Parker in his dorm room. She said he told her he was innocent, and she settled and believed him since they were close friends.

However, Marks remembers a point in the conversation when Parker turns to her and said: “If I was really a rapist, wouldn't I have raped you by now?”

“That's a fucking red flag,” she said of the conversation in hindsight.

Kat Sylvester went to middle and high school with Parker, but didn’t get to know him well until she sublet a room in the house he was living in with multiple other people for about a year, starting in 2016. Most female friends she brought over, Sylvester said he ended up developing romantic feelings for. Her friends eventually decided they wouldn’t come over to her house anymore due to his behavior, she said.

Sylvester fears what could happen with him back in classes and in the community. She fears people now don’t know his background or the allegations against him. She fears he will come back for his master’s degree or as a faculty member after he completes his bachelor's degree.

music annex building
A drum set is seen Nov. 4, 2021, in a practice room in the Jacobs School of Music’s Music Annex building. Parker re-enrolled in the music school to complete his undergraduate degree following two suspensions.

When Parker returned to classes in 2017 after his initial suspension, IU jazz alumni Hannah Marks, Ellie Pruneau, Tanner Guss and Evan Main were among a group of students who signed a petition to Jacobs leadership expressing that they disagreed with Parker being allowed back. They wrote how the few women in the department felt uncomfortable.

Many of those who signed the petition used to be close friends with Parker. Once they heard about the allegations, they said they each eventually came to believe them through conversations with Parker, Ostlund and others.

“It is guaranteed to us that all students are protected and have an environment where we feel safe and secure to pursue our studies,” the petition said. “We are more than uncomfortable being around Chris Parker — we are angry, saddened, offended, and distressed.”

The petition raised concerns that there was a group of students who were unhappy about Parker’s return, jazz studies department chair Thomas Walsh said, but he was allowed to be an IU student at this time. The department’s job was to balance and address students’ concerns, he said, while maintaining that it had no role in the disciplinary process.

When students first found out about Parker’s return in 2017 after the first suspension, Pruneau said she and other women in the department were worried about performing with him in the top ensemble. She said the department’s response was to take all of the female rhythm section players out of Brent Wallarab’s jazz ensemble and place them into a less-prestigious ensemble.

“It felt like our successes had to be sacrificed because of how we felt about the situation. It's not that his successes should be sacrificed. It was ours.”

- Ellie Pruneau, IU alumna

When they complained about the ensemble arrangements, Pruneau said they were told the new arrangement was a better fit. Shortly after, Parker was suspended for the second time, but the ensembles stayed the same. She said she felt the decision sacrificed female students’ learning experiences to avoid problems with Parker.

Walsh said every student has a right to be in the program. But when other students were upset and didn’t want to be in the same classroom as Parker, he said the new ensemble, the Art of the Song, was already being created, which served as a solution and an opportunity to work with a new faculty member.

“We felt like, at the time, we were giving them an assignment that they would enjoy and appreciate,” Walsh said. “It didn't work out the way we hoped.”

If there is an enrollment gap of one year or less, Walsh said a student is still part of the program. Technically, Walsh said Parker’s original admission to the school was honored when he returned after his first suspension, which was considered a gap in his enrollment.

When Parker came back from the second suspension in 2020, Parker was first readmitted to the university before coming before the Jacobs faculty for readmission into the school. For a student to be readmitted to IU after a suspension, Adams Riester said the university will review whether a student satisfied their items in their action plan and display a willingness to follow the student code.

Walsh said Parker had to reapply and reaudition, given it was over the year time span. He said Parker’s suspensions were considered when deciding his admittance in the sense that they knew about them previously when deciding.

During his audition in 2020, Gillespie said Parker was readmitted based on merit because he is a talented musician. Once the school accepted him again as a student, he said they have a responsibility as a faculty to give their students an education.

“If a person has done their time, and they apply, and they're good enough, we're not in the authority of saying you can't enroll again,” he said.


Because Parker was so well-connected in the community, IU jazz alumnus Tanner Guss said it was an awkward situation to outwardly speak against him, since he is beloved by faculty and other prominent members of the jazz community. Coming out against Parker could mean losing a gig, dropping faculty support or not receiving the opportunity to play.

Guss is not alone. Over the summer 2021, IU jazz alumna Ellie Pruneau had an opportunity to play a gig in Indianapolis. She agreed to play before she knew Parker would be in the gig as well. She later backed out of playing — forfeiting her paycheck — when the leader would not take him off the set list.

Marks played a gig with Parker on New Year’s Eve in 2018. Afterward, she said she felt horrible for playing with him and pledged to never do so again.


Guss said people in the school may see Parker as the nice, talented returning musician and believe whatever he tells them. The sexual assault allegations have dissipated to become rumors from people the current students don’t know, Guss said. Students within this program now are in a difficult position with this inherited problem, he said, but hopefully they can come together as a community to discuss the past and move on.

Graduate student Jin Sook Kwak was the only female instrumentalist in the jazz program during the fall 2021 semester. She was not present at IU when the allegations first came about, so anything she has heard comes years after the fact. For her master's recital, Sook was looking for a dummer and selected Parker.

She decided to speak with both Ostlund and Parker to hear their sides of the story. Afterward, she said she can’t pick a side to lean toward and believes both stories.

When Jazz studies doctoral student Brendan Keller-Tuberg began studying at IU in 2018, he said he noticed more people were suspicious of Parker, even though Parker was not taking classes at the time. Keller-Tuberg attributes this to the number of students who remember his initial suspension. However, he said most of those students have graduated, and current students don’t know as much about the situation.

He said the school should be held accountable for molding what is deemed acceptable behavior in the school. With jazz and Jacobs being a male-dominated space, he said he is alarmed with the reactions of the department and conversation among students regarding their reaction to Parker’s allegations.

“Their understanding of the world around them through this is absolute deafening silence,” Keller-Tuberg said.


Ostlund in apartment
Former IU student Shailey Ostlund sits in her apartment Oct. 2, 2021, in Chicago. “Eventually with time, I was able to heal,” Ostlund said.
Ostlund in apartment
Former IU student Shailey Ostlund sits in her apartment Oct. 2, 2021, in Chicago. “Eventually with time, I was able to heal,” Ostlund said.

Ostlund sits in a lounge chair in her Chicago apartment. High rises and Lake Michigan are visible from her long, rounded, rain-spotted windows. She feels safe here. Bloomington is over 210 miles away.

She is a self-proclaimed dork. She has fun with her friends, geeking over TV shows and singing Disney songs. She never dreamed she would be doing what she is. She can put effort into the things she loves instead of always trying to keep herself afloat. She moved to Chicago on a whim and has a job that pays her bills.

“I've finally gotten to the point in my life where I am, again, a very happy person,” Ostlund said. “It's always been one of my favorite things about myself.”

She did not return to IU, a university she said didn’t support her. Instead, Ostlund is studying theater at Roosevelt University in Chicago. Last semester, she completed her first semester of college.

Her happiness is returning, and she feels like she now shares a resemblance to who she was before 2015. She said she has had time to heal and accept what happened to her.

“I'm finally at a place where I'm Shailey, and it's been a long time to find Shailey.”

“I never felt like I had the voice”

Ostlund said she didn’t feel like IU supported her. Years later, she said she is still trying to get something done regarding her assault.

OSTLUND: I’ve watched how people have been just going about activism with regards to sexual assault—especially sexual assualt on campus—over the last few years, especially with the #MeToo movement just a few years ago. And I always felt like it came a little too late because it wasn’t there for me. But I am so… I’m just speechless to see that people are actually wanting to make sure that this stops. Cause I’ve always wanted to make sure that it stops and I never felt like I had the voice to do it.

Editor's note: Abby Malala previously worked for the Indiana Daily Student.

About this story

The IDS spent six months reporting this story, talking to 20 people with knowledge of the allegations, the Title IX process or the Jacobs School of Music's Jazz Studies Department. The allegations reflected in the story were quoted and paraphrased from current students, alumni, faculty, documents and IU offices. The IDS contacted Parker nine times to request an interview or a comment on the allegations. In all nine instances, the IDS did not receive a response.


Sexual assault on an IU campus can be reported through this online form.

IU’s Confidential Victim Advocates are trained to work with students who have experienced sexual misconduct. They can be contacted by calling 812-856-2469 or emailing cva@indiana.edu.

The IU Sexual Assault Crisis Service operates 24/7 connecting students with counselors. They can be reached at 812-855-8900.

IUPD’s non-emergency number: 812-855-4111

BPD’s non-emergency number: 812-339-4477

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-4673

National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 800-799-7233

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

The Middle Way House works to support survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. They have a help and crisis line at 812-336-0846.

To obtain a protective order after experiencing domestic violence or sexual abuse, Monroe County has a Protective Order Assistance Partnership.

The Monroe County Victims Assistance Program provides assistance for crime victims in understanding how their case progresses through the justice system.