The University of Wisconsin Marching Band will perform at Saturday’s football game, ending their indefinite suspension following hazing allegations, officials announced Thursday.
UW Marching Band Director Mike Leckrone, who made the announcement that the band will perform at Saturday’s night game against Penn State, said it is still “to be determined” whether the band will be allowed to make road trips. For now, the band has been suspended from travel, which Leckrone said may effect a planned performance at an upcoming Packers game.
While only a minority of band members were involved, Leckrone said, sanctions have been imposed on the entire band, including the appointment of a staff member from the Offices of the Dean of Students to work closely with the band to address concerns and promote positive behavior.
Dean of Students Lori Berquam said nearly 70 students voluntarily came forward to cooperate and provided information about hazing incidents.
“Our meetings confirmed that a broad pattern of inappropriate and humiliating behavior took place in the band,” Berquam said.
She added those activities included “students having to kneel and take a bite from a summer sausage, students confined to the bathroom in the back of the bus for several hours” and “a game called ‘mystery door No. 3’ in which students are blindfolded, led to a room behind a closed door and … asked to remove the lingerie from a male band member.”
The announcement came at the end of what Leckrone called a “trying and stressful week” following the band’s suspension from last week’s football game against Ohio State.
“This kind of conduct is a personal embarrassment to me, obviously,” Leckrone said. “As leader of the band, the buck stops here.”
UW junior Jon Alfuth, drum major, and senior Alex Waskawic addressed the media Thursday as student leaders of the band. They said while they were aware of some of the situations, others came as a surprise to them.
They declined to name the specific incidents of which they were aware or how they handled them specifically.
No criminal charges have been filed as a result of the allegations, Berquam said, but an undisclosed number of hazing victims have quit the band “during the course of the investigation.”
Leckrone said he is sorry anyone has felt the need to quit the band, adding it affects the band’s ability to perform.
“Well, it’s very disappointing because you had somebody who was talented; you want them to add to the quality of the performance,” Leckrone said. “And it’s very disappointing that they felt so uncomfortable that they didn’t feel that they could continue.”
Berquam said she cannot say how many people have been disciplined for their roles in the hazing but said penalties could range from an official university written reprimand to expulsion.
She added she regretted unsubstantiated allegations of “sexual fondling,” which were reported as fact earlier Wednesday night.
Berquam, Leckrone and Gary Sandefur, dean of the College of Letters and Science, said the investigation into the band’s behavior will continue indefinitely.