Bad Bands?

University marching bands have been in the national spotlight lately for bad conduct. The University of Wisconsin (UW) Marching Band was banned from performing at the Oct.4 nationally televised home game against Ohio State University due to allegations of hazing and inappropriate behavior.

The band was reinstated for the next home game and a road trip to play at a Green Bay Packers game; however, an ongoing investigation continues with the dean of students.

This is not the first time the UW band has gotten into trouble. In 2006 allegations surfaced regarding a freshman being forced to shave his head, semi-nude and sexualized dancing, inappropriate alcohol use and women being forced to kiss other women in order to enter the bus bathroom.

Meanwhile at the University of California at Davis, the Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh!’s new director Tom Slabaugh quit his job and filed a memo complaining of sexual harassment. The band, which has a reputation for being non-traditional, is a completely student-run organization. The faculty director had no power to remove students from the band, and before him the band had not had a director in years.

Slabaugh’s complaints included drunkenness, hazing, lewd photos, pubic urination and nudity, an inappropriate Christmas card sent to his home, foul language, rude gestures and insulting messages written on the band room’s whiteboard when he brought his daughter to sell Girl Scout cookies. UC Davis is currently investigating Slabaugh’s claims.

About the author

Elizabeth Geli

Elizabeth Geli is the assistant editor of Halftime Magazine and a journalist/communications professional in Southern California. Her 11 years at the University of Southern California (USC) Trojan Marching Band included time as a flute player, graduate teaching assistant, and student advocate. She holds a bachelor's degree in Print Journalism and master's degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts) from USC.

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