Hazing, booze, sex led to Wisconsin band probation

10/13/2006 - Wisconsin Badgers

MADISON, Wis. -- The University of Wisconsin put its
marching band on probation because members routinely engaged in
hazing and rowdiness involving alcohol and sexual acts, school
officials said.

UW-Madison Chancellor John Wiley said a band member was
pressured into shaving his head in a hazing incident and other
members danced seminude during the band's trip to the Sept. 23
University of Michigan football game.

"It has become increasingly clear that certain types of
sexualized and hazing behavior are an ingrained part of the band's
culture," Wiley said Thursday. "We will not provide an ongoing
venue for this inappropriate and demeaning behavior."

The school said the band's behavior was so notorious that the
athletic department sets aside money so that cheerleaders and the
dance squad can travel in separate buses to avoid harassment.

In an Oct. 3 letter, released Wednesday after a public records
request by The Associated Press, Wiley told band director Michael
Leckrone to clean up the program, which he has led for 38 years.

Two days later, Wiley warned the band's 300 members that they
risked losing travel and performance privileges. Band leaders could
also be replaced, he said.

Most reports of misconduct during the Michigan trip involved one
of seven buses returning home, said Casey Nagy, Wiley's executive

"We had multiple reports of highly sexualized banter taking
place that made several women in particular feel quite
uncomfortable," Nagy said. "We had dancing and disrobing taking
place that made some people feel not only uncomfortable but

He said the head-shaving incident was reported by a faculty
member who believed "the individual would have preferred to keep
his hair."

Separately, Nagy acknowledged that the university was
investigating a sexual harassment complaint against a band staff
member. He provided no other details.

Leckrone said no one had been disciplined for the Michigan trip
because he only recently learned of the behavior. He said he was
confident that conduct would improve.

"If it doesn't happen, I don't think I should be the
director," Leckrone said.