Senior leaders at Victoria University of Wellington will gather to consider the “serious” allegations of sexual assault and grooming raised by former students against Kiwi composer, the late Jack Body​.

Body died in 2015, a week after being awarded Arts Icon status – one of the highest honours in the New Zealand arts world, held by only 20 living people at any one time.

Published in Stuff

Former students from the 1980s and 90s came forward this month after alumni of the university’s New Zealand School of Music were asked to donate to the Jack Body Memorial Fund, established in October 2019. They allege Body asked drunk students to pose for naked and semi-naked photo shoots and in one case, sexually assaulted a student during a year-end assessment meeting at the school.

The University removed the web page promoting the Jack Body Memorial Fund from its site on Friday, after questions from Stuff.

A spokesperson said “no direct allegations” had been made to the university, and it had found no evidence that management staff received allegations of sexual misconduct during Body’s time at the university. The composer lectured at VUW from 1980 until his retirement in 2012, according to the spokesperson.

“The university community is shocked and saddened to hear details of the historical allegations about Jack Body that have been published in the media.

“A group of senior leaders at the university has begun meeting to determine a rigorous, respectful and appropriate process for making inquiries around these serious allegations and how we might engage with people who may be able to provide information”, she said.

By Alison Mau
Published in Stuff
07 Oct 2020