University of Wisconsin Marching Band Suspended for Hazing
In a bizarre turn, the entire University of Wisconsin marching band has been suspended indefinitely due to allegations of sexual misconduct and alcohol abuse during last week's road trip to the University of Michigan.
Band director Mike Leckrone suspended the entire marching band for the Wisconsin Badgers football game on Saturday, Oct. 4. The marching band was replaced by pop music during pre-game festivities and game stoppages. In addition, a pre-recorded version of the school's classic fight song "On, Wisconsin" was played whenever the home team scored.
The band will continue to be under suspension while the school conducts an investigation.
No details were immediately released about the behavior, only that it involved inappropriate alcohol use, hazing and sexualized behavior. Leckrone said it involved only a small number of band members, but it was significant enough to warrant the suspension.
He and Dean of Students Lori Berquam refused to discuss any details while the investigation by Berquam's office is ongoing.
Penalties for students who violate the university's code of conduct range from a reprimand to expulsion, Berquam said.
While hazing is--sadly--not unusual among athletes, it's considered relatively rare in the squeaky clean world of marching bands. The University of Wisconsin marching band, however, has a history of being the exception to the rule.
Leckrone said the allegations were similar to the ones that surfaced in 2006, which occurred on the way to Michigan.
On that trip, female band members were forced to kiss each other to gain access to the bus bathroom, at least one member had his head shaved against his will and at least one female member was forced to mimmick fellatio on a sex toy.
Michael Lorenz, the band’s former assistant director, was forced to resign in 2007 after his own misconduct during that 2006 Michigan trip. He reportedly walked into the room of a part-time female employee while intoxicated, took off his shirt and refused to leave, despite several requests to do so.