Organizers of Strut, a popular student-run fashion show at Virginia Commonwealth University, say they've been locked out of their offices and unceremoniously shut down by university officials — the same day a story about their show's cancellation was published in Style Weekly.
The locks allegedly were changed on Strut's offices, located in the student commons, on the evening of March 7.
"A student saw them do it," says Strut's president, Jazmin Tanner. The next day, Strut members asked Carolyn Whittier, the university's associate director for programs and educational services, to unlock the door so they could collect their belongings.
When a Strut member asked why Strut had been locked out, Tanner says that Whittier responded: "Because you're no longer a student organization."
Strut members also say that university officials canceled a meeting that was to be held March 9, citing "unforeseen circumstances," and that they could reschedule sometime after the university's spring break last week.
VCU officials decline to comment on the claims.
"I am even more upset with the administration at VCU," says Caitlin Alfred, Strut's fashion designer. "I'm flabbergasted by everything that has been done."
The annual fashion and entertainment event started in 2005, and drew 1,000-2,000 spectators to the Siegel Center. University officials pulled the plug on this year's spring show, Tanner says, because they wanted to keep the Siegel Center open in case the VCU men's basketball team went to the Final Four.
Meanwhile, VCU got knocked out of the third round of the NCAA tournament this weekend and Strut is now a thing of the past.
"There is no such thing as Strut anymore," Alfred says.