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Bowie State band on a 1-year probation following suspension

New program includes Anti-Hazing Re-education
Bowie State band on a 1-year probation following suspension
Posted at 9:12 PM, Nov 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-30 21:12:06-05

In the wake of hazing allegations against Bowie State University's Symphony of Soul marching band, the program will continue with limited activities after the suspension.

University President Aminta H. Breaux announced a one-year probation for the band Friday, and a change in leadership. There will be a new program to enhance the band's academic program. 

“It became evident during the investigation that there is an immediate need for a comprehensive re-education program to enhance the annual anti-hazing training already provided to the band and other student organizations,” said President Breaux.

In a statement, the university introduced a Revitalization and Realignment Program to address the concerns, which includes a change in band leadership. Here are the plan’s five major components:
1.    Leadership Transition
Band director, Dr. Adolph Wright, has voluntarily resigned, and assistant band director Billy Bennett has been appointed as the acting director. He will remain in place until an interim director can be appointed during the spring semester. The interim director will serve until a permanent director for the band is appointed, after a national search.  
2.    One-year Probation of the Band
During the probationary period, the band will only perform on campus at institutional ceremonies and other campus performances that fulfill the academic requirements of the program. Overnight trips by the band will be prohibited. Summer Band Camp will be suspended until 2020, and new students will not be allowed to join the band until fall 2020. 
3.    Required Academic Enrichment
During this probationary period, band members will be required to participate an inclusive and comprehensive program for academic enrichment, including structured study halls.
4.    Student Leadership Development & Training
Band members must participate in university workshops on understanding group formation and dynamics of group engagement, enhancing the annual anti-hazing training the band and other student organizations already receive.
 
5.    Academic Realignment & Rebranding of Band Program
The plan will better align the band operations and academic requirements with the Department of Fine and Performing Arts. As part of this effort, the music faculty will guide the rebranding for the SOS Band, with input from students. The Symphony of Soul Band is a vital part of the Bowie State experience, representing the university in formal ceremonies, intercollegiate athletics games, and community performances. In addition, the band provides about 88 student members with valuable musical performance experience, especially for those who study music at the university. Renewing a strong band program serves to enhance the overall campus engagement. 

An investigation found that the band members violated the university’s policy on hazing and the Student Code of Conduct. The university’s policy establishes prohibitions against “any action taken or situation created intentionally to produce physical or mental discomfort, harassment or ridicule.” In early November, all band activities were suspended, except academics. 

“As an institution, we have an obligation to assure that the health and well-being of our students are not put at risk, so we must act quickly to remedy this situation.”