Stanford Band, Banned: No Road Trips Next Season

Stanford band (Ed and Eddie / Flickr / CC / Cropped)
Ed and Eddie / Flickr / CC / Cropped

On Friday, Stanford University banned the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band (LSJUMB) from performing at any athletic events held away from the university for one year because of the band’s recent history of the use of alcohol and controlled substances as well as hazing.

In addition, the band will be unable to host any events using alcohol during the 2015-16 school year, but home events and designated non-athletic events will not be affected, the Stanford Daily reports.

According to the Daily, the band had been investigated by Stanford’s Organization Conduct Board and Title IX Office, which found that the charges against the band stemmed primarily from the 2011-2012 school year. Some of the behavior in question occurred at Stanford; periodically those events featured the use of illegal substances.

The statement from the University charged, “Violations included a tradition in which a band member was given an alcoholic concoction intended to make that individual vomit publicly; an annual trip in which some band members used illegal substances; and a band selection process in which individuals were asked a number of inappropriate questions on sexual matters.”

The University asserted that the band “will be required to adjust some of its internal events to ensure they comply with university policies prohibiting hazing and sexual harassment; and will participate in additional training to ensure compliance with university policies on alcohol, hazing and sexual harassment.”

The band, officially known as the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band, released a statement in which it stated:

Reports of our death are greatly exaggerated…

There are aspects of Band culture which are no longer in line with our values, and we accept that, despite tremendous growth, we have further to go. The results of this investigation are valuable, and they give us further opportunity to create a safe space on campus for students to express themselves freely. We are your Band, and we welcome your questions, as well as your thoughts. You will certainly be hearing ours…

In the recent past, we have too often conflated growing more inclusive with avoiding controversy. Being in line with this community’s values demands that we return ourselves to the winds of freedom, which in recent years have subsided to an intermittent breeze. We won’t confuse ridding our culture of intolerance with sanitizing our culture of its adventurous character. We hope you’ll stand with us in finding this line.

The band is a long history of getting into trouble, including:

  • 1972: The band took over the microphone on the Storyland Canal boat at Disneyland and told its own “true story” of the ride, prompting the band to be banned from Disneyland for years;
  • 1986: Members of the band publicly urinated after a home game against the University of Washington; the band also spelled out “NO BALLZ” during a halftime show against USC, prompting the band to be banned from the UCLA game;
  • 1991: The band performed a halftime show in which the drum major, Eric Selvik, dressed as a nun and conducted the band using a wooden cross as a baton, prompting the University of Notre Dame to ban the band from visiting its campus;
  • 1992: Stanford’s Athletic Department told the band to fire its announcers after one announced, “No Chuppah, no shtuppah,” during halftime of a game against San Jose State;
  • 1994: 19 members of the band skipped a rehearsal and instead played The Zombies’ “She’s Not There” outside the L.A. County Courthouse while the jury was selected for the O.J. Simpson trial, prompting disciplinary action;
  • 1997: The band mocked Catholicism again, especially Irish Catholics, with a show at a Notre Dame game; the band and the university president later apologized, but the band was not allowed at Notre Dame games for the next two years;
  • 2004: The band mocked Mormons, joking about polygamy during a game against Brigham Young University.


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