University statement on the Stanford Band
Seeking to achieve sustained reforms in the conduct and culture of the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band, Stanford is temporarily suspending all activities of the Band through the spring quarter of 2017 and initiating a process to develop a new organizational framework under the leadership of a new music director.
The decision was conveyed to Band leadership today and is detailed in a letter.
In the letter, Vice Provost for Student Affairs Greg Boardman called the Band “a beloved component of Stanford culture” and said he hopes the steps “will preserve the essential features of the Band – including its irreverence and exuberance – but address the leadership deficits that have led to constant and repeated violations of policy.”
In May 2015, the Band was found responsible for a number of violations of university alcohol, Title IX and organizational conduct policies. Over the last 18 months it has been operating under an alcohol suspension, a travel ban and a requirement that the Band make a series of reforms to improve its culture.
A campus Organization Conduct Board (OCB) panel recently found the Band responsible for new violations of campus alcohol policy, the alcohol suspension and the travel ban. Reviewing both the new violations and the failure to complete the required reforms over the last 18 months, the OCB panel found “a systemic cultural problem” in the Band organization and concluded that “the outstanding issues have not been taken seriously by the Band or its leadership and that nothing more will be accomplished without extreme consequences.”
“We do not feel that the current leadership or membership is capable of creating the necessary cultural change,” the OCB panel wrote. “We feel there is a total lack of accountability and responsibility in the current organization.”
The OCB panel recommended a suspension and loss of recognition for the Band as a registered student organization through the end of academic year 2017-18.
Boardman said he concurred with the OCB findings but was concerned that the Band would be unable to reconstitute itself following a suspension of that length. His decision calls for a temporary suspension of all Band activities, effective immediately through the spring quarter of 2017, linked with new steps to address the structure and culture of the Band in the future.
During the suspension period, a committee will be convened to develop a reconstituted Band model, with direct university oversight by a professional music director. The committee will consult with a broad selection of stakeholders, including Band members and alumni, soliciting input on organizational improvements for the Band.
The decision can be appealed to the provost of the university.
As part of the existing travel ban, the Band was prohibited from traveling to the Big Game at the University of California, Berkeley, last month and had been informed that it would be unable to travel to the Sun Bowl on December 30.
Boardman wrote that he was “saddened and disappointed” by the need to address these issues, noting that the Band “is recognized as a prominent symbol of Stanford University” and “plays a joyful role in many campus traditions.”
“I understand that this has been a difficult process for all parties involved, but I hope you will see this as an opportunity for a collaborative solution that reflects the highest values and traditions of the university,” Boardman wrote.