USC vows to switch to Song Girls after abuse allegations


USC has completed a Title IX investigation into allegations that former Song Girls coach Lori Nelson harassed and retaliated against members of the Spirits Team while she was running the program, and is committed to making changes.

The school found “sufficient evidence” that Nelson, who ran the program for almost 30 years before resigning, shamed the body, harassed and retaliated against several members of his program while running a “hostile and unhealthy” environment between 2016-2020, according to the report. This, the school said, violated several USC policies.

, and stated that they were ashamed of their weight and eating habits, that they were required to wear full makeup at all times, regardless of location, and that they had been humiliated for their sex life , among others, by former coach Lori Nelson.

Several of the dancers said they developed eating disorders and / or body image issues, and another said she became depressed and considered suicide.

“For years, many people involved in this process invalidated our experiences, so toxic problems persisted for decades,” said Josie Bullen, former member of Song Girls. “Our one and only goal in going to school and telling our stories was to make sure that no student would experience what we did. The results of this survey represent a huge step forward in achieving this goal. “

The school is committed to changing the program to make it more inclusive and welcoming.

“Looking back on my year on the team is tough, but it’s heartwarming to know that the program is moving in a positive direction,” said Bullen. “I hope the findings will bring healing and peace to all of the Song Girls who have been affected by the problems that we were.”

USC Trojans Song Girls on the field during the 2019 Vacation Bowl against the Iowa Hawkeyes at SDCCU Stadium in San Diego, CA. (John Cordes / Icon Sportswire Getty Image /

Nelson will face no consequences

school administrators and USC has opened a Title IX investigation. Nelson, who was only the second Song Girls head coach in the program’s history, has denied the allegations.

The school said Nelson would suffer no consequences as she resigned her post. She plans to appeal the school’s findings.

“Ms. Nelson is pleased to have been completely cleared of all charges of discrimination based on race, appearance or any other factor,” said Ryan Saba, Nelson’s attorney, in a statement. Regarding the allegations of harassment and retaliation, the evidence did not support the conclusion as the complaining parties only made these allegations against Ms Nelson after being excluded from the team by a panel of judges which did not include not Ms. Nelson The damning statements of the hearing judges and other witnesses refuted these aberrant allegations of wrongdoing.

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