Stanford Band Suspended Amid Accusations Of ‘Unacceptable Behavior’

The Stanford band was suspended amid accusations of “unacceptable behavior,” according to correspondence addressed to band management from Vice Provost for Student Affairs Greg Boardman. As a result, the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band is being forced to suspend all activities until the conclusion of the spring quarter of 2017.

As stated in Boardman’s letter, the Stanford band is accused of violating the university’s alcohol policy and Fundamental Standard. The students are further accused of violating previously imposed alcohol and travel bans.

Stanford News reports the band was initially investigated in 2015 for incidents that occurred on and off campus between 2012 and 2015.

According to reports, members of the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band violated a number of university policies, which prohibit the use of alcohol and controlled substances. The students were also accused of participating in hazing rituals, which is strictly forbidden.

An investigation into the incidents revealed new and prospective members of the marching band were encouraged to consume an “alcoholic concoction intended to make [them] vomit publicly.” According to witness reports, they were also forced to answer explicit questions about their sex lives as a form of initiation.

Drum and sticks in a black background
[Image by Prathan Nakdontree/Shutterstock]

The investigators also determined numerous members of the band used controlled substances during athletic and band-sponsored events.

As a direct result of the investigation, the Stanford band was prohibited from traveling to, or participating in, any “away” athletic events during the 2015-2016 academic year. Band members were also prohibited from serving or consuming alcohol during any band-sponsored events during the 2015-2016 academic year.

Although the band’s activities were restricted, they were permitted to attend and participate in athletic events held at the university. They were also permitted to host events — as long as they did not serve alcohol or participate in activities that were in violation of university policy.

According to Vice Provost for Student Affairs Greg Boardman, the band violated the restrictions on at least two occasions. They are specifically accused of violating the alcohol ban during the Tree Rollout event and during an event at the Treehouse. They are also accused of violating the travel ban by using band funds to pay for a trip to Lake Tahoe.

The official hearing report, which was outlined in Boardman’s announcement that the Stanford band was suspended, explained the five-member panel’s decision.

“Each of these violations is concerning… they show what we feel is a pattern of disregard for university policy and administrative directives…. We are deeply troubled by the fact that Band has not yet fulfilled the requirements set forth in… May 2015… this leaves us feeling that the outstanding issues have not been taken seriously… and that nothing more will be accomplished without extreme consequences.”

In addition to the Stanford band suspension, the panel suggested the formation of a committee to prevent similar issues in the future. During the winter quarter, the committee will be tasked with restructuring band leadership and increasing oversight.

Boardman said the committee will also assess and monitor student activities at Dollies and Tree and the university’s Music Rehearsal Facility — which was being used as a makeshift “clubhouse” as opposed to a venue for band rehearsals.

Old worn trumpet stands alone against a marble wall near alley
[Image by Ezume Images/Shutterstock]

Although the Stanford band suspension is scheduled to expire at the conclusion of the spring 2017 term, the committee reserves the right to extend the suspension beyond that date if their goals cannot be achieved within that timeframe.

In his letter, Boardman reminded the band that they have an opportunity to petition the Provost for reconsideration. However, if the petition is not received by January 23, 2017, the Stanford band will be suspended for the remainder of the spring term.

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