We have set a new low for what constitutes hazing, and it comes to us from Wisconsin, where the Badgers’ famous marching band has been under fire for allegations of misconduct since October. The entire Badger band was even suspended for Wisconsin’s much-ballyhooed night game against Ohio State, which the Buckeyes pulled out with a late touchdown. Surely, then, there must have been a great deal of–oh you have to be kidding me:
A few previously unreported examples of inappropriate behavior by band members included singing a cadence that includes the word vagina, placing a condom on a banana and a game involving alcohol in which some band members formed a “hamster cage” for other students using torn up pages of phone books.
Not “vagina”! Nooooooooooooo! The rest of the allegations, detailed in the above link to the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, are similarly tame to the point that you wouldn’t hear a complaint from even 15-year-olds, much less people grown enough to be in college.
It comes as no surprise, then, that the vast majority of the complaints come from parents, likely of the over-protective variety. The usual helicopter-parent hysteria reached its apex with an allegation of “being sexually fondled against their will,” which would be horrible and immediate grounds for dismissal if true. It, of course, wasn’t, but the reflex of fact-checking is never as strong a force on public opinion as an original allegation is; you can’t un-ring the “sexual misconduct” bell.
So now Wisconsin has to deal with a tarnished reputation on what has usually been one of their athletic department’s best assets: its marching band. So they told some 18-year-olds to drink and put a condom on a banana. Ask one single senior on that squad if they were in any way scarred for life by their initiation. Or for a year. Or a month. You won’t find any, because nobody was actually abused in any way. And it’s pathetic that the band’s now going to be living under a microscope with this new
babysitter “staff member charged with promoting a positive culture and changes to travel policies” when the only people who really need help are parents who think their children are 9, not 19.