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LSJUMB reacts to alcohol suspension

The Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band (LSJUMB) was placed on alcohol suspension Feb. 6 by the Office for Student Affairs, following incidents surrounding the abuse of alcohol at the Fiesta Bowl, according to band manager Brian Kooiman ’12.

 

“There were several alcohol-related incidents at the Fiesta Bowl that led to alcohol suspension,” Kooiman said in an email to The Daily.

 

Kooiman denied, however, that the LSJUMB has had an unusual amount of alcohol-related accidents or hospitalizations this year.

(SERENITY NGUYEN/The Stanford Daily)

 

When asked how the LSJUMB has responded to the incidents in order to prevent similar ones from occurring in the future, Kooiman said, “We are currently following our alcohol suspension.”

 

University policy for alcohol suspension requires that all organization activities and events be alcohol-free, according to Chris Griffith, associate vice provost and dean of student life.

 

“Other than events planned by the organization for its members, it can be difficult for non-housed groups to define what activities constitute an organization event,” Griffith said in an email to The Daily. “We trust that they will abide by expectations and will consult with us if they have questions.”

 

This is not the first time that the Office of Student Affairs has imposed an alcohol suspension on the LSJUMB. Griffith said that the Band was placed on indefinite provisional status – including alcohol suspension – in 2006 after band members vandalized and destroyed the Band Shak.

 

Griffith said that the current alcohol suspension will be reviewed at the end of Spring Quarter.

 

Band Member Reaction

Citing directions from LSJUMB staff that discouraged non-staff members from talking to the press, several band members declined to speak to The Daily.

 

Responding to the imposition of the alcohol suspension, however, one member sent out an email to the Band’s email list expressing frustration with the LSJUMB staff’s non-resistance to University regulations. Noting their tradition of irreverence, the student argued that the Band should challenge the University’s judgments rather than comply with them.

 

The email thread received over 100 responses in one night.

 

The imposition of the alcohol suspension has unintentionally coincided with the University terminating the independent lease of Chi Theta Chi, a co-op which one band member said has traditionally housed an unusually high proportion of band participants. With this development – along with separate regulations the University has recently placed upon band operations related to transportation, field show regulations and the Band’s internal disciplinary management – other band members said they felt frustrated with the University in more ways than one.

 

Alleged hijinks

The abuse of alcohol was not been the only controversy involving the LSJUMB’s behavior at the Fiesta Bowl.

 

Following Stanford’s defeat in the football game, the former drum major continued to call songs during the presentation of the trophy and the playing of Oklahoma State’s alma mater, disrupting the awards ceremony and riling fans of both teams. Several members of the audience tweeted about the Band’s interference, and many posted complaints online.

 

Although OSU fan Mark Lash acknowledged the joviality of the halftime show’s “trash-talk,” Lash wrote on his blog that the post-game behavior of the LSJUMB was “offensive, disrespectful and way out of line.”

 

Lash posted a letter that he had written to the Stanford Athletic Department, saying that he had heard that members of the band mimed a plane crash during the halftime show, a reference to the crash that killed the coach and assistant coach of OSU’s women’s basketball team this November.

 

However, one LSJUMB member, who wished to remain anonymous, gave an opposing account, saying that a few band members ran onto the field with extended arms, like they do at every halftime show before getting into formation, and that they did not intend any such allusion.

 

“Running onto the fields with your arms out is a lot different than mimicking a plane crash,” the source said.

 

According to the band member, Lash’s complaint about the Band’s conduct at the Fiesta Bowl was one of about 80 received by the University. Griffith, however, said that the exact count is unknown due to the dispersion of complaints among administrative departments and offices.

 

“We replied and expressed our apologies for disrupting the award ceremony,” Griffith said of the University’s response. “We are working closely with the Band leadership to develop protocols that will alleviate the possibility of similar occurrences in the future.”

 

A band member also set off small explosives at the Phoenix Zoo preceding the Band’s Fiesta Bowl performance, according to two other band members who also wished to remain anonymous.

 

LSJUMB staff declined to comment about delaying the award ceremony and about the alleged use of small explosives at the Phoenix Zoo.

  • AntiSlice

    Yawn.  The Fiesta Bowl is old news.  And really, you’re publishing what someone said they heard had happened as a fact?

  • Stanford Supporter

    I had heard from friends from Oklahoma who have been attending bowl games for five decades that the Stanford fans were the worst that they had ever encountered at this year’s Fiesta Bowl.  They were surprised and dismayed that Stanford had such boorish fans and students.  I am glad to see the suspension and I hope some sports’ etiquette will follow.  Team spirit doesn’t need to be obnoxious and offensive. 

  • anonmyous

    This article is in no way based on fact. It is a shame that the Daily would publish this slanderous article about a group that does so many things for the university. The “disruption” of the awards show lasted 30 seconds…come on. get your facts straight before you publish something…
    also, a few individuals (2 specifically) do not represent the band as a whole. 

  • calm down people

    the -fact- is that one fan believed LSJUMB were mocking a plane crash. The article then goes on to express both sides of the story… i don’t see a problem

  • Paul

    To Anonmyous,

    I attended the Fiesta bowl and the while many outside California don’t understand or “get” the band I wasn’t offended by the halftime show.  It was just the Stanford band trying to lampoon the opponet.  Some of it worked and some of it didn’t.

    The interuption of the the awards ceremony was intentional and boorish and lasted much longer than 30 seconds.  It took numerous attempts by the Fiesta bowl staff and finally uniformed officers to get the band to stop.  The worst behavior or perceived sour grapes was the playing over the Oklahoma State band as they played the Alma Mater.  Intentional and sad… 

  • Band Member

    As a band member, I’d like to say that the acoustics in the stadium were horrible.  Even though we were fairly close to the Oklahoma State band, we couldn’t hear when they were playing.  Therefore, I personally had no idea we were playing over their alma mater.  I just continued playing as long as my drum major conducted.  It seems like this was, in part, an unfortunate misunderstanding.

    As a side note, at Stanford stadium and several other Pac-12 stadiums I’ve been to, several rival bands have played post-game while we played “Hail, Stanford, Hail.”  I never took offense.

  • cardcounter

    Life is not so bad when your biggest problem in life is being told not to get drunk.

  • BEATkal

    The band isn’t even good at rock’n’roll music any more.  Without good music, the license for irreverence has expired.  The band used to be great and funny.  used to…

  • Sjbeard59

    I was there and it was boorish, rude and insulting. I am not an Okla. State alum, but my husband and son are. My son was the drum major of the OSU marching band for five years and would NEVER have allowed them to behave as the Stanford band did that night. I do happen to be an alum of Oklahoma University and also picked up insults to the state of Oklahoma in general. It appears that prejudice against “Okies” is alive and well in California. We saw no spirit of good sportsmanship at that game from the Stanford fans.

  • Sjbeard59

    It is a fact and sometimes it takes old news hanging around a bit and being dredged up again to get some changes made. Ever heard of the Florida Atlantic band getting out of control? College students don’t always have the best judgement, do they? (Of course, not all of the Stanford band ARE young people. What’s their excuse for setting a poor example?)

  • MN

     Correction: *drunk* fans and students. Of course they’re boorish.

    I’m not excusing it, just putting it in context. A lot of Stanford fans have forgiven USC fans for being asinine, mostly because they were drunk.

  • MN

     Oh, I’m sure the “Okies” have no prejudice at all to “hippies” and “the gays” and “nuts” of California. And what was that amendment that Okies voted on a few years ago? You know, the one that passed, changing your state constitution? Can’t remember what it was about, want to remind me?

  • MN

    Which members of LSJUMB aren’t young people? Did they act “boorishly”? Or are you just assuming on both counts?

  • MN

     I’m getting the sneaking suspicion that you’re a Cal fan. “BEATkal” seems to be trying too hard.

  • PhoenixResident

    I had always admired Stanford University for consistently proving that athletic and academic excellence were not inconsistent goals.  I no longer have any such admiration for Stanford because I saw your band’s performances at this year’s Fiesta Bowl.
     
    My undergraduate degree is from Oklahoma State University and I was in OSU’s marching band while I was in college.  My father was a Plant Pathology professor and I grew up in a strong academic environment.  Universities usually care about their image and I was sorry to witness such overwhelming empirical evidence that Stanford does not. 
     
    Any student group should be free to do almost anything.  If a group of individuals generally affiliated with Stanford wants to get together and attempt to ridicule Oklahoma by taking words to the state song out of context, that’s fine.  If during their second performance they want to make fun of OSU’s BCS standing and then advocate for even more government control of real estate markets, then that is okay as well.  If this same group exhibits a lack of respect by playing through the opposing school’s alma mater and by attempting to disrupt the trophy presentation, then it displays only immaturity.  However, the Stanford band is not a random group.
     
    Stanford’s band was at the Fiesta Bowl as an official representative of your university.  Any claims otherwise will not be persuasive.  A counterargument that they were less offensive than they usually are would be equally without merit.
     
    I realize that your band likely judges their version of success by the number of complaints that they generate, but university endorsed poor sportsmanship is no longer in style.  I will have no respect for Stanford as long as you allow your institution of higher learning to be represented by a group that looks and acts like the worst Occupy Wall Street anarchists.  Your band is an embarrassment to musicianship and is void of anything resembling class or taste.  A university, that continuously allows its brand to be tarnished by such a group, cannot be trusted to make value judgments. 
     
    A recent New York Times article noted that bowl games have a value in ways that have nothing to do with football because they bring people from across the nation together who would not otherwise connect with each other.  Without exception, every Stanford fan I encountered was polite and friendly; but any goodwill was erased by your band.  It does no good to put a taped message from your football coach encouraging professional behavior and sportsmanship on the stadium’s message board when your band is simultaneously displaying the opposite.    
     
    The references to the number of Nobel laureates on your faculty and number of Rhodes Scholars your school has produced in the game’s program are impressive; but that is not what will be remembered.  It is no exaggeration to state that every Oklahoma State fan in attendance at this year’s Fiesta Bowl now has a diminished view of Stanford.  Apparently, you find this to be acceptable; but perhaps you should not.  

  • phoenixcowboy

    I attended the Fiesta Bowl  and saw two well matched teams play a great game. As an Oklahoama State fan, I was looking forward to seeing Andrew Luck and Stanford and the hype that surrounded the program. I left the Fiesta Bowl knowing that Stanford could back up all the talk. In fact, after seeing both Baylor’s Griffin III and Andrew Luck play, I know who is the best college  football player in the country.
    It’s too bad that the antics of the band left a bad impression with many of our fans.