By BIANCA LOPEZ
In UT’s tight knit music community, one professor struck a chord last week. Dr. Nathan Madsen, a visiting assistant professor of music and orchestra conductor, was arrested on March 7 for allegedly attempting to solicit sex from a 14-year-old girl.
Madsen, who has taught at UT since August 2014, arranged a meet up with the minor after agreeing to pay for a half hour alone with her. Madsen found the girl through an Internet site that authorities know is linked to the prostitution of minors. While Madsen believed himself to be meeting the step daughter of the man who listed the advertisement online, he had actually fallen into Homeland Securities’ lap.
“Dr. Madsen is no longer employed at the University of Tampa,” said Dr. Haig Mardirosian, dean of the College of Arts and Letters. “Our first and highest commitment is to the maintenance of a learning and living environment in which all are safe and free to pursue the goals of learning, inquiry, and discovery.”
Just one week prior to the situation, Madsen was a trusted professor and was very close with the department.
Kelsey Rudder, a senior musical theatre major, describes the UT music department as a family.
“My initial thoughts when finding out was I was disturbed. People put trust in him and cared about him, and it makes me sad that it happened,” Rudder said. “The best thing we can all do at this point in time is stay positive, be there for one another, and continue to listen to the music we all create within this wonderful department.”
Madsen’s popularity and talent have made the news of his arrest particularly hard for many students and faculty members to swallow.
“I loved [Madsen] as the orchestra director because he, he came at things in a more professional manner than [our previous professor] had,” said Alana Boyles, a junior marine science and biology double major. “He pushed us musically to places that we hadn’t been asked to perform at before, which I appreciated because I feel like that made me a better musician.”
Boyles is a musician in wind ensemble and orchestra. She is currently the only percussionist at the university and, through orchestra, was very close with Madsen.
“Anytime we refer to our favorite professor, it’s always Dr. Madsen. So when [my roommate] told me, I was just crushed,” Boyles said. “I was actually in the process of writing him a congratulations letter and a thank-you for helping me grow as a musician and, well, that had to be scrapped.”
The string private instructor Lei Liu will be directing orchestra from now until the fall semester when a more permanent solution can be put in place.
The College of Arts and Letters immediately appointed other professors to take over Madsen’s classes and arranged for the chair of the Department of Music to speak with the students in his classes to ensure that questions and concerns were addressed.
“Both the department chair and I are available at any time to speak with students regarding their concerns. In addition, the university offers, if needed, victim advocacy services for any students who require such,” Mardirosian said. “Specific to the College of Arts and Letters is the commitment that this faculty position will be replaced in the Department of Music and that our majors and non-majors alike will have excellent teaching available to them moving forward without fear or concern about their learning environment.”