When did the marching band become the center of hedonistic activities on college campuses? Just days after Wisconsin’s band had to sit out its game against Ohio State, details are emerging about the out-of-control behavior of UC Davis’ “Cal Aggie Marching Band.” The (male) director is so exasperated that he’s filed a sexual harassment complaint with the university.
(This photo taken right before they all strip and start urinating everywhere)
Among other transgressions, according to the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, band members of both genders stripped as part of a tradition called “naked van.” There was also the time when four drunk band members peed in an elevator on a group retreat. And who could forget the time some trombone players gave the director an “I saw you masturbating” Christmas card?
The poor sap who has to put up with all of these shenanigans is Tom Slabaugh, who is the first faculty supervisor of the organization in four years.
Things have gotten so bad that Slabaugh filed the harassment complaint and is currently on stress leave. The CHRONICLE’s Lance Williams has more outrageousness:
Slabaugh said he found a bass drummer drinking beer in the drum room and urged the band council to punish her. After she was suspended for two weeks, her friends blamed Slabaugh.
“We are adults and you need to respect that,” a trumpeter e-mailed him. “You owe the band an apology for your attitude since the beginning of your employment here.”
The band’s rudeness took other forms. When Slabaugh brought his 9-year-old daughter into the band room to sell Girl Scout cookies, someone had written “F- Slabaugh” on the whiteboard. The director wrote that he didn’t bring his family around after that.
There’s not a whole lot to criticize Slabaugh on in this situation, but perhaps bringing your daughter around people who routinely drop trou without warning isn’t the best idea.
Slabaugh knew that the group had some behavioral issues, but he was shocked when he saw “naked van” on display for the first time:
On last year’s road trip to the football game with Portland State, a trumpet player yelled “naked van!” and everybody in the vehicle - men and women alike - stripped to their underwear.
It doesn’t appear, though, that the university is taking the opportunity to condemn the student behavior nor give Slabaugh latitude to deal with the issue. In fact, the school still hasn’t really done anything about the situation, even though Slabaugh’s complaint included the following evidence:
Attached to Slabaugh’s memo were photos of the band from picnic day in April. They included the shot of the four musicians pretending to urinate; a photo of band members with their uniform pants down; and another photo that he said showed the equipment manager “simulating oral copulation” on a trombone player. The photos were for sale on the Internet, he wrote, although recently some have been taken down.
It’s too bad. I’ve been looking for a nice “trombone oral copulation” print to hang in my den, but I guess they aren’t selling it anymore.