This past December, the marching world was thrust into the spotlight with the news that one of the nation’s most infamous marching band programs had been suspended. And then the band made news again in January when the suspension was reversed.
Institutional issues are nothing new to the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band (LSJUMB). Back in May 2015, Stanford University had announced Title IX, alcohol, and organizational conduct policy violations for the program and instituted an alcohol and travel ban on the group. Little more than a year later, the Organization Conduct Board (OCB) found the band responsible for four additional violations; to the OCB, these violations represented “a total lack of accountability and responsibility in the current organization,” justifying the use of extreme sanctions.
On Dec. 9, Stanford announced its intent to suspend all of the group’s activities—both on and off campus—through spring 2017. In addition, the university plans on hiring a professional music director to manage the currently student-run group.
In its appeal in January, the LSJUMB claimed to have spent time evaluating its program and restructuring it. Stanford Provost John W. Etchemendy, who retired soon after making his decision, agreed with the band’s appeal and ended the suspension.
Instead, the program is now in provisional mode through the conclusion of the current academic year. Importantly, it will remain a recognized student organization with the ability to conduct rehearsals and have access to its facilities. The travel ban previously imposed will continue to be in effect, and the university has created a four-person Oversight Committee. At least initially, the program was not able to perform at public events except as approved by the Oversight Committee.
While changes are surely coming to the LSJUMB, according to the program’s leadership, it will still be “the same irreverent, funky Band” the world has come to know.