The University of Wisconsin Marching Band is on probation for reports of bad behavior. UW officials now say that UW-band members participated in semi-nude lewd dancing, sexualized banter, the shaving of one band member's head and other forms of demeaning conduct during a recent road trip to the University of Michigan. “And when we receive this number of reports that it appeared we were experiencing a 'renaissance' of some of these objectionable behaviors, the chancellor decided, in consultation with Mike, to nip it right in the bud and indicate unequivocally, that we're not going back to that style of behavior,” says Casey Nagy, executive assistant to Chancellor John Wiley.
In a letter to 70-year-old band director Mike Leckrone, Chancellor Wiley said the two of them have discussed the offensive behaviors of band members so many times that, if there is no change, he'll have no choice other than to contemplate “changes in its leadership.” Leckrone agreed that if things didn't change, he should no longer be the director … and he had earlier conveyed that message to the band. “It was kind of a private moment, but I'll share it with you. I told them that for the first time in 38 years, I wonder if I've been on the job too long.” He continues, “That was my feeling at the time. Since then I've been sort of regenerated by the fact that they've taken this very seriously and the spirit of the band has been such that basically we're gonna prove people, who think ill about us, that it's a wrong impression.”
Leckrone is optimistic students will behave more appropriately. Among other things, Wiley is requiring all band members and field assistants to attend harassment training. This new information comes as the band prepares for its homecoming game this weekend against the University of Minnesota.
Investigations into the reports are being conducted by the university's Office for Equity and Diversity.