Thursday, December 12, 2019
US flag

Va. State band suspended over hazing allegations

Virginia State University has suspended its marching band over hazing allegations, the Associated Press reports. The story out of Ettrick comes from WWBT-TV (NBC affiliate).

A statement from Virginia State read in part:

The VSU Police is investigating hazing allegations involving members of the Trojan Explosion Marching Band, some of which have been substantiated. As a result, the Trojan Explosion Marching Band leadership has recommended the suspension of all band performances pending completion of the investigation by the VSU Police and the band leadership. The University administration is in agreement with the band leadership’s decision.

University spokeswoman Pamela Tolson tells reporters that the Trojan Explosion Marching Band’s performances are suspended pending an investigation by campus police and band leaders. Some of the allegations have been substantiated, she said, without providing any further details.

The policy makes it clear that every form of hazing, including a conspiracy to haze, is a violation of school rules.

“You hear the band in the morning, you hear the band in the nighttime, you just always hear the band,” the station quoted one sophomore as saying. “I don’t know how homecoming [on October 19] is going to be without the band.”

I don’t know either, but keeping fellow students safe is clearly more important than a fun-filled Homecoming weekend that includes a band.

The problems of hazing

A recent study by Elizabeth Allan et al (2019) of over 5,000 American college students from seven universities “with a demonstrated commitment to hazing prevention,” found 26 percent of students reported at least one experience that met the definition of hazing. Prior studies of colleges found rates of 55 percent.

Rates were higher for students on varsity athletic teams (42.7%), fraternities and sororities (38.3%), and club sports (28.5%). The most common were hazing behaviors involving excess drinking, social isolation, personal servitude, and humiliation.

“Given the secrecy surrounding hazing, it’s students that have the most power to stop hazing or reduce its harms. They need to act when a group’s practices put new or prospective members at risk for physical or emotional harm and when hazing traditions place the group and its leadership at risk for criminal or university penalties,” writes Shawn Burn in a summary article in Psychology Today.

That describes quite well what happened at Virginia State: great secrecy around the allegations, given that no news agency has reported what the actual charges were, and student leaders within the affected organization, the marching band, stepping up to end the hazing behavior on the part of the group’s members.

Hazing takes on a different character from traditional rites of passage, which are common among clubs and other school-based organizations. Hazing—abusive, dangerous, degrading, or exploitative behavior—puts students in harm’s way and differs significantly from rituals and initiations that “promote commitment and group cohesion,” Ms Burns writes.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

Girls’ volleyball champs in Illinois

We congratulate the Illinois state champions in girls' volleyball: Newark, St Teresa, Sterling, & Benet Academy.

A weekend of ‘band geeks’ across America

The musical Band Geeks was in performance at a MD high school, just as marching bands from across America named a national champion.

2 dead, 3 wounded in Calif. school shooting

Another school shooting has resulted in the death of 2 California high school students. The suspect shot himself and is in custody.

Mercury makes a transit; next in 2032

A transit of Mercury occurred today and was visible from the US, provided you had sunny skies. It was one of longest possible transits.

On the Naperville BWW racist incident

A racist incident at a Naperville, IL, sports bar indicates that the threads of racism are strong, perhaps as strong as ever.

IL bill could excuse absences to vote

A proposed law in IL could give students up to two hours during the school day so they could vote in the upcoming election.

Loan forgiveness gains some bipartisan support

One Republican from GA, who used to work under Betsy DeVos at the US Education Dept, offers a plan to forgive some student loan debt.

A band teacher is IL Teacher of the Year

IL named a band teacher the 2020 Teacher of the Year on Oct. 19. He individualizes music instruction and shares his work with 1000s.

‘Little Shop of Horrors’ bookends Halloween

Several high schools have decided to add a little spook to their musical stages in this season of Halloween. Music makes it happen.

New IL law ensures inclusion of LGBTQ+

A law will take effect next school year in IL that will require students to study LGBTQ history as part of the social studies curriculum.

MoCo doubles down on summer learning loss

Research is at least equivocal about summer learning loss, but maybe there's something to a new plan in Montgomery County, Md.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.