It is the night before Thanksgiving and as I sit in my quiet home (cats and dog all fed and now in post-dinner comas) I have time to think about everything for which I am thankful. This list is the normal stuff: health, the love of family and friends, a solid paycheck, and a future which seems quite bright. Unfortunately my quiet evening came to a screeching halt when I caught up with the news in the college band world.
A drum major for the Florida A & M Rattler Marching Band became ill and died Saturday evening after a game. The cause of death is still unknown but investigators have found that hazing was involved in the incident.
In response, University officials suspended all band and other department ensemble performances during the investigation. (See article for initial breaking story.) This evening it was announced that long time director Julian E. White (since 1998) has been dismissed.
There is much to discuss here, not the least of which is the distasteful headline that was used announcing Dr. White’s dismissal (see article) but a discussion about the media and their ethics, or lack thereof, is for another day. In actuality there is no room for discussion on this topic, but rather a statement that has no room for negotiation whatsoever. When it comes to the UDMB the sentence below, which opens a letter sent each fall to the members, sums it up best:
“Any form of hazing either in rehearsal, on trips, or within groups of the band inside and/or outside of rehearsal time will never be tolerated.”
There simply is no room for it and I follow a Zero Tolerance Policy. End of so-called discussion.
Band is a place for everyone; Band is FAMILY; Band is a safe and welcoming community for it’s members and for it’s guests. I am very grateful that the UDMB honors this code of ethics. I am horrified that other organizations do not.
So as I continue to reflect upon all I am grateful for in this world, my heart goes out to the family of Robert Champion who so tragically and needlessly passed away Saturday evening. There simply is no room for hazing, none.