An anonymous group of students from the Pride of Oklahoma marching band took out a full page newspaper ad on Friday criticizing second-year band director Justin Stolarik.
Stolarik has been embroiled in controversy since his hiring in the summer of 2013. He drew the immediate and vehement ire of the band’s alumni fan base for making changes to the band repertoire and drill in their halftime and pregame shows. Alumni groups have used social media and crowdfunding to bring attention to their concerns, including buying billboard advertising.
“The end goal is to restore the Pride’s superior reputation, to help ensure the students receive the education they deserve and to help ensure the Sooner Nation can again be proud of the organization,” said Lyndsea Ponder, creator of the “Restore the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band” Facebook Page. She spoke with Halftime Magazine in November 2013.
The recent newspaper ad is framed as an open letter from anonymous band students to University President David Boren. It concludes with a selection of negative quotes attributed to students.
“I’ve long had a policy of not responding to anonymous personal attacks,” Boren said in a statement Friday according to the Norman Transcipt. “It’s a shame that people would waste their money on such ads instead of supporting scholarships for our students.”
The Norman Transcript reports that students are considering boycotting an upcoming football game and that the band is divided with some supporting Stolarik.