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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Wednesday, April 24, 2024
Camp Randall Bandless for first time in 40 years

: UW-Madison seniors without student season tickets were able to sit in the seats usually occupied by the band.

Camp Randall Bandless for first time in 40 years

Taped versions of On Wisconsin"" and ""Varsity"" were the only sounds of the UW Marching Band Saturday during the Badgers-Ohio State football game - a result of Band Director Mike Leckrone suspending the band for misconduct allegations. 


""There are allegations of hazing, which I find totally unacceptable - the band knows it,"" Leckrone said at a news conference Friday with Dean of Students Lori Berquam and College of Letters & Science Dean Gary Sandefur.  


Leckrone said the hazing allegations and other reports of ""inappropriate sexual behavior"" were serious enough to take immediate action. Saturday's game was the first time the band did not perform at a home football game in at least 40 years - the time Leckrone has been director. 


""You don't have any idea how hard [the decision] was,"" he said. 


Berquam said Associate Dean Kevin Helmkamp has been put in charge of an official investigation. If any of the allegations violate university conduct codes, punishment could range from a reprimand to expulsion. 


Berquam did not say how long the suspension could be in effect, meaning the band will miss all home games until the investigation is complete. Leckrone said the band would practice Tuesday with the understanding they may not perform at this week's game against Penn State.  


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The suspension comes two years after then-chancellor John Wiley placed the band on probation in October 2006 for similar reports of inappropriate sexual behavior and alcohol use during the band's trip to the University of Michigan, in addition to reports of past incidents. 


The fact that the latest allegations come one weekend after a trip to the University of Michigan may be just a coincidence. Neither Leckrone nor Berquam would comment on when the new allegations took place or who was targeted. With a band of over 300 members, Leckrone said he believes the number of band members involved is a ""very small percentage."" 


Leckrone said the probation had been lifted a year ago, but the new reports were against the code of conduct he still holds in place. According to Leckrone, the band had made strides since 2006 with mentoring sessions and meetings with upperclassmen and freshmen about appropriate behavior. 


""Obviously we still need to do more.""  


Leckrone said the reaction from band members, who heard of the suspension at 4:30 p.m. Friday, was one of disappointment. ""Most of them felt like this was in violation of everything we've talked about,"" he said.  


Individual band members did not return phone calls as of press time. 


Some students who attended Saturday's game said they felt a similar sentiment of the band's Camp Randall absence. 


""It was kind of disappointing that the band wasn't there for such a big game,"" UW-Madison sophomore Kelsey Padrutt said, adding the band was ""definitely missed."" 


Sophomore Sarah Zipperle said she thought the crowd interaction at the game was lacking. 


""They shouldn't ban them for hazing because then they're punishing all the students, football players and even all the band members who were not involved,"" Zipperle said.

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