Parents of the members of the UW Marching Band have received a letter from Dean of Students Lori Berquam, which lists some of the allegations against the band that lead to the band's performance suspension last week.
"There is a concern that students may have been placed in unsafe situations or experienced humiliation in a hazing like atmosphere," Berquam writes in the letter dated October 3, the day the suspension took effect.
The letter lists four specific allegations:
– Being forced or pressured to have their hair cut in a way that is not flattering.
– Being forced or pressured to eat something disgusting.
– Being sexually fondled against their will.
– Being forced or pressured to drink alcohol or other concoctions that may contain alcohol.
"I am notifying you of these allegations because of my concern for your son or daughter's safety and academic success," writes Berquam.
The letter does not provide any more details regarding the allegations or when the activity may have occurred.
Berquam's staff has been investigating the allegations. Many of the band members have been interviewed by Associate Dean of Students Kevin Helmkamp.
"I would urge you to speak directly with your son or daughter and talk with them about the experience they have had in the band," writes Berquam. "I would appreciate your help in encouraging your son or daughter to be truthful and fully cooperate with our investigation."
Berquam expects the investigation to be complete in time for an announcement on the band's status for this Saturday's home football game.
The letter was mailed in an envelope with the return address of the UW Police Department. Berquam says the police are not involved at this point. She says the police department helped send the letters.
No specific disciplinary action has yet to take place against any individual student, according to the letter.