The Stanford Band is used to making headlines - but this was one was unexpected.
In a Friday afternoon news dump, Stanford University announced that the Band would be temporarily suspended through spring quarter of 2017.
The Band had been suspended from traveling to all sports road games for the 2016 season after a May 2015 investigation found that the Band “infringed University policies on alcohol, controlled substances, sexual harassment and hazing,” and the most recent report found that the band had not made the changes the University believed were necessary, leading to the total suspension.
Seeking to achieve sustained reforms in the conduct and culture of the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band, Stanford is temporarily suspending all activities of the Band through the spring quarter of 2017 and initiating a process to develop a new organizational framework under the leadership of a new music director.
The decision was conveyed to Band leadership today and is detailed in a letter.
In the letter, Vice Provost for Student Affairs Greg Boardman called the Band “a beloved component of Stanford culture” and said he hopes the steps “will preserve the essential features of the Band – including its irreverence and exuberance – but address the leadership deficits that have led to constant and repeated violations of policy.”
In May 2015, the Band was found responsible for a number of violations of university alcohol, Title IX and organizational conduct policies. Over the last 18 months it has been operating under an alcohol suspension, a travel ban and a requirement that the Band make a series of reforms to improve its culture.
A campus Organization Conduct Board (OCB) panel recently found the Band responsible for new violations of campus alcohol policy, the alcohol suspension and the travel ban. Reviewing both the new violations and the failure to complete the required reforms over the last 18 months, the OCB panel found “a systemic cultural problem” in the Band organization and concluded that “the outstanding issues have not been taken seriously by the Band or its leadership and that nothing more will be accomplished without extreme consequences.”
The reaction from Stanford students and fans can best be described as outrage, with an outpouring of support for the Band’s unique, irreverent culture and utter frustration that the University would levy a total suspension.