Hawkeye fans considering a gold-out at Kinnick Saturday in honor of murdered ISU student (Updated)

Celia Barquin Arozamena discusses her appreciation for her Iowa State golf coach Christie Martens in April. The clip was featured in a tribute video to Barquin Arozamena after her death.

Update, Sept. 20: On Wednesday, Sept. 19, the University of Northern Iowa Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, in a tweet, encouraged UNI fans to wear gold to their Saturday 4 p.m. home game against the Hampton Pirates. The tweet was retweeted by the official UNI Athletics account.

Meanwhile, Iowa Hawkeye pages have not directly commented on the gold-out proposition, and continue to share graphics indicating which sections should wear gold and black to create the stripe effect.

A Facebook note posted by Gazette sports editor Sam Paxton shortly after midnight on Sept. 19 criticized Hawkeye Heaven, the fan page that initially proposed Iowa fans wear gold on Saturday.

After accusing Hawkeye Heaven’s creator and page manager (Levi Thompson, though he isn’t specifically named) of having a history of claiming journalists’ and readers’ photos and ideas as his own, Paxton admitted the gold-out is “a great gesture on paper,” but that Hawkeye Heaven “undermined the efforts of the very institution that he claims to support” by not consulting the UI before disseminating his idea.

Paxton urged followers of Hawkeye Heaven to unfollow or even block the page, and participate in the Black and Gold Spirit Game as planned.

The letter concludes,

So, on Saturday …

Iowa State fans, honor Celia. Wear yellow. Make her, her family, her teammates and your extended fanbase proud.

Iowa fans, stripe the stadium. Don’t give in to the trolls that “Hawkeye Heaven” has created.

And if it helps, look at it this way … wear gold for Celia, wear black for Mollie [Tibbetts, the UI student found murdered on Aug. 21]. And the state can and will stand united over these two senseless tragedies.

As of 12:30 p.m. today, Paxton’s note has received 325 shares on Facebook. Hawkeye Heaven’s follower count has decreased by approximately 1,000 since the note was posted.

Hawkeye Heaven shared a conciliatory post Wednesday afternoon.

A second post shortly after refuted a claim posed by Paxton that Hawkeye Heaven suggested the gold-out to sell shirts: “This, along with many other accusations, is simply untrue. Our thought of the yellow shirts was solely one of support to Celia and those who cared about her. We do not even offer a yellow shirt in our store.”

Little Village has yet to receive a response from the UI Athletics Department regarding the gold-out proposition.

Nearly two months to the day after University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts went missing during an evening run in Brooklyn, Iowa, the body of Iowa State University student Celia Barquin Arozamena was found at a golf course in Ames.

The 22 year-old was discovered in a pond at Coldwater Golf Links on Monday morning with stab wounds to her head, neck and upper body. Collin Daniel Richards has been arrested and charged with Barquin Arozamena’s murder.

Faced with another tragedy, Iowans have proposed turning to football — and a common color — to express their grief and solidarity.

The idea spread after a tweet from ISU quarterback Kyle Kempt, sharing what appears to be a screenshot from a text conversation with one of Barquin Arozamena’s teammates on the ISU women’s golf team. (Barquin Arozamena was a decorated golfer, earning the 2018 Big 12 champion and Iowa State Female Athlete of the Year.)

“My prayers go out to Celia’s friends, family, and everyone affected by this terrible tragedy,” tweeted Kempt. “If you are attending the game this Saturday, please wear yellow to honor Celia at the request of her teammates.”

ISU plays Akron at home this Saturday, Sept. 22 at 11 a.m.

While the idea to fill Jack Trice Stadium with yellow/gold — Barquin Arozamena’s favorite color, according to friends — was picking up momentum around Ames, Hawkeye Heaven, an Iowa fan page with nearly 120,000 followers on Facebook, posted about ISU’s effort, and included a call for Iowa fans to follow suit and wear gold to Saturday’s matchup against Wisconsin at home.

Almost all responses went one of two ways: the majority were in favor of the idea, while others said they agreed with the sentiment, but felt Saturday’s game may not be the best time to organize a gold-out. The game is slated to be the season’s only black-and-gold spirit game, with fans advised to dress according to their section in order to create alternating stripes of black and gold in the stadium.

“With all due respect to that young lady don’t be trying to change the color scheme 4 days before the game,” one person commented on the Hawkeye Heaven post. “If the University wants it changed they will put out the announcement. How the hell do you know that maybe they don’t have some other way of honoring this girl on Saturday?”

A gold-out has not been officially acknowledged by ISU, UI or the state’s third public university, the University of Northern Iowa. The Iowa State Athletic Department has stated it plans to “honor Barquin Arozamena’s memory” during the Akron game, but has not specified how.

But some who commented on the Hawkeye Heaven post cited the Wave as precedent for successful, meaningful grassroots action by Iowa fans. The post-first-quarter tradition of waving towards patients and families in the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital began as a social media campaign, first executed in the opening game of the 2017 Hawkeye football season. The action was quickly endorsed by the University of Iowa Athletic Department, and has been embraced on a national level, including by Iowa’s opponents. Fans, players, coaches and marching band members from ISU and UNI participated in the Wave during their matches against the Hawkeyes on Sept. 8 and 15, respectively.

“I get that the spirit game is cool and all, but when Iowa fans started waving after the first quarter it demonstrated what it means to be an Iowan, and even a Hawkeye,” one Facebook user wrote in response to pushback against the gold-out proposition. “Other schools took notice and even adopted it elsewhere. We don’t *have* to join ISU in this moment, but it is absolutely the right thing to do. She was not ‘one of them’ she was an Iowan like you and me. If we as a fan base were to ditch the stripe theme and wear gold to honor the life of another Iowan that was senselessly lost it would demonstrate a sense of unity. I think we can all agree we need a little more of that these days.”

Little Village has reached out to UI for comment.

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