We here at the University of Wisconsin have a fairly low opinion of the city of Ann Arbor. We understand that its loose morals and the inferiority complex its students must have vis-?-vis us Badgers may lead some Wisconsin students to exhibit a lack of judgment within the city’s confines.

However, allow me to speak for Badger fans everywhere and to direct my following statement to our UW Marching Band: Whatever in the world it is you guys keep doing in or around Ann Arbor, stop.

It’s been a disheartening two weeks for Badger football fans. An extremely disappointing and embarrassing loss to Michigan, followed a week later by a disappointing loss at home to Ohio State, has dashed any hopes of a BCS bowl game. Adding insult to injury is our storied marching band, whose antics had us, at one time over the past few days, on the front pages of the respective websites of MSNBC, ESPN and Sports Illustrated.

Late Friday afternoon, UW officials began releasing ambiguous information regarding hazing allegations about our beloved UW band. Stop me if this sounds familiar, but, as far as we can tell, the incident, or incidents, in question seem to have occurred during the band’s trip to Ann Arbor a little over a week ago. Some of you may remember that a strikingly similar incident occurred some two years ago during another trip to the University of Michigan. So it is our honor, it seems, to once again have our marching band’s reputation dragged through the mud for the nation to see. We hope everyone enjoys the view.

The band’s absence at what was the biggest game of the Badger football season was conspicuous — even historic. This was the first time in at least 40 years that the band would not be performing at a UW home game. In another parallel to a similar incident two years ago, these hazing allegations seem to center around alcohol and “inappropriate sexual behavior,” as band director Mike Leckrone puts it.

Enough is enough.

I’m not talking about Leckrone. Be certain there will be plenty of people who are or will be calling for Leckrone’s head as more lurid and unambiguous details are revealed. But a band director cannot be held responsible for the irresponsible actions of a few members of his 300-plus-member band. No, it’s not Leckrone we tire of, but rather the sophomoric antics of certain members of our marching band.

I’m not very musically gifted. I can clap my hands with the best of them, and I was known for my early-morning shower Disney Sing Alongs while I was in the dorms. But I can’t play a trombone, bang a drum or handle any other musical thing that requires aptitude with a musical instrument. I don’t know exactly what it’s like being in a band, on a bus with a band and, having not seen any of the American Pie movies, I may be one of the few college students who actually has no clue what happened at band camp.

But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that our band members refrain from “inappropriate sexual behavior” while representing our university.

We’ve all heard about hazing incidents and fraternities, and there’s something to be said for good-natured hazing. And by good-natured hazing, I mean a mild noogie. But our band is not a fraternity. It is representative of the university. Look no further than the requisite UW promotional commercial that aired during the disastrous Ohio State game and featured performances from marching band members. In a fairly sizable dose of irony, it aired during a game from which the band itself was banned.

The whole band cannot be at fault. All 300-plus-members did not engage in the sort of behavior being alleged. But there is a culture that persists, as is evidenced from the fact that things are looking eerily similar to what happened some two years ago.

I love Mike Leckrone. I grew up watching him and UW physics professor Clint Sprott on public television. I knew the songs he conducted and watched the band he directed before I even thought about attending college. This must not mar his legacy.

Marching band members: Figure it out. Fix it. But for Bucky’s sake, don’t ever let the whorish city of Ann Arbor, or any city for that matter, addle your wits to the point that you embarrass my university like this again.

And Mike, please don’t ever miss another game.

Gerald Cox ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in ecomomics.