October 4, 2008

The UW Marching Band, accused of hazing, barred from performing at tonight's game.

The report doesn't say exactly what happened:
[UW-Madison Band Director Mike] Leckrone found out about the allegations at 3:45 p.m. Friday afternoon and informed the members of the suspension at around 4:30 p.m. ....

The band has a history of hazing. ... Leckrone said the allegations Friday were very similar to those in 2006.

The 2006 incidents included: demeaning and abusive demands for younger band members to run errands and refill beer cups for older members; women forced to kiss other women to gain access to bus bathrooms; highly sexualized banter and more, according to the university.

UPDATE: So the fans suffered twice: no band and the team lost the big game.
"I think there's a counterculture that really operates outside of the band structure that feels like this is the cool thing, this is what being part of the band is," [Lekrone] said. "We've stressed that's not the case at all."

Still, the latest incident is not the first time the band has been accused of hazing or lewd behavior. The culture of hazing has ebbed and flowed over the years, Leckrone said.

"You get 18- or 19-year-old kids who don't always use the best adult judgment," Leckrone said. "They think it's part of the organization. I think it's a hard thing to break down."...

Heather Watter, who played trumpet in the band from 2003 to '06, said she quit before her fourth year in part because she wanted to focus on her studies and in part because she said she didn't like the atmosphere of the band, which she said revolved heavily around alcohol.

"I heard of people my freshman year that seemed pretty quiet and shy who were getting completely drunk and doing things they wouldn't do otherwise," she said. "It seemed like they were forced to drink."

But she said she was never the subject of any serious hazing and said she avoided situations where she might feel uncomfortable.

"There is pressure to do that kind of stuff so maybe some people don't think they can escape that pressure," she said.

33 comments:

rhhardin said...

Watch out for the bassoon section, is good advice.

ElcubanitoKC said...

In what kind of game were they supposed to be playing?

The Drill SGT said...

Sentence first, investigate later?

Alex said...

I don't get it. The kissing sure sounds kinky!

EDH said...

This is a clear indication that when there are no groupies to abuse, the members of a band on the road will turn their abuse on each other.

Put down that shark!

I say screw VH-1's "Save the Music" campaign.

David said...

Take this principle and apply it to the whole UW campus, or at least the social/fraternal/sexual/alcoholic/party/undergraduate part, and you can shut down the entire school.

Not that there's anything wrong with that . . .

Quayle said...

I have a great idea for society.

Let's completely trash and abolish all former social barriers and lines established around sex, then let's pour all our vigilant efforts into social condemnation and eradication of sexual harassment.

Let's blur all lines, then let's viciously attack when somebody crosses a line.

Oh, wait, that's what we've already done, thanks to the 60s generation.

Alex said...

I still don't see the problem with girls kissing girls.

Methadras said...

What did they do? Shove a couple of flutes up someones ass and then asked them to fart some Jethro Tull?

Alex said...

What did they do? Shove a couple of flutes up someones ass and then asked them to fart some Jethro Tull?

LOL. Nice imagery there!

Fred4Pres said...

Did these abuses happen at...band camp?

dr kill said...

The Wiscky band needed an excuse to stay home and watch the Shamrock-Slice main event. The football game might get real ugly.

goesh said...

- didn't know they allowed contact sports up there, figured it was banned some time ago..

Trooper York said...

Once a band starts to get popular all the bad stuff starts to happen. The drugs and the groupies. Trashing motel rooms and demanding a bowl of M&M’s with no brown ones or you will throw them out the window. Snorting cheddar cheese off of the bellies of coeds. Telling your law professor to fuck off because you are the tuba player.It is especially bad when you have a bunch of geeky nerds who were used to getting wedgies and swirlies from the jocks in high school. But now they were hot stuff. They were the University of Wisconsin Band, “Eat our Cheese.”
(Michael Leckrone, VH1’s Behind The Music: The University of Wisconsin Band)

blake said...

The UW Marching Band is notorious.

Shanna said...

"Highly sexualized banter" among a group of co-ed 18-22 year olds? Shocking.

John Lynch said...

One time, at band camp?

Michael_H said...

Several other Big-10 universities have organized a benefit concert, called Band Aid, to raise funds for the unexpectedly sober UW Stumbling Badgers Marching Band.

vbspurs said...

Sentence first, investigate later?

Worked at Duke University...

Skipper50 said...

Horrors!

Brian Johnson said...

Sounds more like a punishment for the crowd.

save_the_rustbelt said...

The UW band got in trouble intentionally, as they knew they would be embarrassed by the The OSU band, The Best Damn Band In the Land!

Gives them an excuse.

MadisonMan said...

I see nothing in the article that says there has not been an investigation. Is there any reason the UW should leave itself open for a lawsuit by allowing the behavior to continue?

Kudos to Mike Leckrone for making a difficult decision. That's what I look for in a leader.

Dave TN said...

Being a Tennessee marching band alumnus (Pride of the Southland!), it's not terribly unusual behavior for college bands, although somewhat over the top.

We played in the 81 Garden State Bowl against Wisconsin. It was cold as hell at practice, but all the UW band members were wearing shorts and T-shirts to show us Southerners how impervious they were to cold. Pretty lame, we thought.

UT beat UW 28-21, and they thankfully shut down that god-awful bowl the next year. Whoever decided a bowl game in NJ was a good idea was hopefully shot.

dr kill said...

Hahaha, I just completed the 'join the UW band' form at badgerband.com.
Those 2006 infractions are so 1974.

# 15- other
#16- I just want to ride the bus.

Looks like one needs to be gay, and I don't mean happy, to be the drum major. Nice photo.

dr kill said...

Might be the AA blog needs a marching band. We should be able to hold our own in the hazing-drinking-sexual innuendo competition.

Tough loss, too. Especially at home, without the Marching Sexual Innuendos in the stands playing 'Louie Louie'.

1970_baby said...

When I was in the UW band, we used to have a "beer pass" on the road trips. We would stand in a line, boy-girl-boy-girl etc. and the first person would take a swig of beer and it would be "passed" mouth to mouth down to the other end of the bus. The last person had to swallow it. I could tell more stories but probably shouldn't.

hdhouse said...

As a proud member of MSU band and president of it when we were banned from returning to Columbus Ohio by no less than the governor, and at the time it was, like most big ten bands, all male, our hazing episodes were pretty much frat type foolishness albeit with a certain amount of cleverness tossed in.

Wisconsin's Band - 40 years ago - wasn't welcome on Big Ten campuses because it was very much like the Harvard and Stanford bands but with a midwest twist. Don't get me wrong, they played well and sounded suprisingly good, but their halftime message was a cross between Mad Magazine and Lenny Bruce.

No one really cared much. They embarrassed everyone and no one. Frankly, we all need to back up two steps instead of forming such straight lines.

Issob Morocco said...

Wisco plays MSU the day after Halloween, so I hope the ban is lifted, as my recollection was MSU's band members were quite the partiers. What a scene that could be in downtown EL, watching drunken battle of the bands. Woodwinds versus woodwinds, drumline march offs, Trumpet joustings and trombone tug of wars!

BTW, has Wisco won a Big Ten 11 game, this year?

kufuffin4100 said...

i'm pretty sure all wisconsiners in general are impervious to cold. they weren't showing off, they were just warm.

Original Mike said...

I was at the game, and the atmosphere sucked. The headline writer got it right, it was the fans who took the brunt of Leckrone's actions. I'm sure curious to find out what was so bad that such an action was warranted. It had better be good. I'm getting awfully damn tired of high ticket prices coupled with really unacceptable seating space (I'm a skinny guy, I buy their chair so that my space is defined, and am still scrunched and squeezed to an unacceptable level). This may very well be my last year. I've always loved the band, but I didn't realize how much of the experience was them.

brian said...

I have no problem with the University punishing those members found to violate the University and/or Band Codes of Conduct. However, to punish all ~300 members for the actions of a few is harsh and unfair. I believe many present and past members of the group would agree. Disclosure: I marched in the band in the 1990s.

Additionally, I am disappointed to hear that this heightened punishment was due to the earlier incidents from 2006. At most, only half of the current membership were in the band in '06. The band should not be treated as a static, unchanging entity.

Dave_tn: The band wasn't trying to "show off" to the Tennessee band by practicing w/o shirts in "cold" weather. Most of the band's Bowl game preparations are in tremendously inclement weather, and the first dose of above-zero temperatures feels wonderful. See the video below:

http://www.c3ktogo.com/news-video/?mgid=13463

David X said...

Wow, I just love how people jump to conclusion with little knowledge of the incident/want to express some emotional grievance. There's the internet for you.

But in regards to the situation, let's play the fool. Assume, the band did "something", "something" so bad, the media report (and internet rumors) are true, and yet we cannot arrive at the truth (the 2006 investigation was based on accusations, never confirmed). Would you think by now, the investigation would have found the specific cause/incident?

Let us do some further research. the UW band looks like Choir boys compared to some other incidents (Cal-Aggie band's "Naked Bus", Stanford's stunts, Yale dropping trousers at halftime 1985, etc. Read all about it here http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/10/06/MNM7135E1B.DTL&type=printable)

What do all these incidents have in common? They were specific and sufficient evidence was present. The UW band situation has no such evidence against them.

So let's look at the facts here: Investigation turns up blank, accusations are too general and enough to start an investigation, but nothing compared to the "bad" cases. Something is missing here.

How about the accusation? Who is the accuser? I'm sure lots of people (see above comments) jumped on the bandwagon (forgive the pun), but the initial accuser is unknown, as is the true incident.

With this information, I cannot help but remember the UnaBomber threat of 1996. Yes those days when a anonymous phone call mentioning "bomb" can evacuate entire buildings, nay, blocks. My theory? The UW band was already under scrutiny due to the 2006 incident, and somebody decided it would be nice to get them in trouble again. The proverbial "anonymous phone call" happens, measures are taken, then everyone else joins in condemnation. Perfectly natural.

As for Mr. Leckrone's decision, I suspect he is calling the bluff. By suspending the band, he forces an investigation (and makes the critics happy for now). If someone is at fault, then the specific people are disciplined. End of story, people forget about this story (like the rest of the marching band incidents). If the investigation turns up nothing, then an apology is in session. Simple as that.