Photo Credits: JUSTIN HAN / AGGIE
Suspension follows accusations of hazing, sexual violence, misconduct
The Cal Aggie Marching Band (Band-Uh!) has been placed on an interim suspension pending the completion of an independent investigation by an external law firm following an article published in The California Aggie and a subsequent investigation done by The Sacramento Bee.
Previous reporting detailed potential cases of hazing; sexual assault, harassment and violence; binge drinking and other instances of misconduct. The investigation into Band-Uh! will be conducted by Sacramento Law firm Van Dermyden Maddux, according to The Davis Enterprise.
While the suspension is in place, all band activities are canceled, according to Jeff Heiser, the associate director of recreation at UC Davis. These activities include all performances, including those at the commencement exercises, and the band’s annual fundraiser. According to The Bee, band officers’ key cards have been deactivated, all university-owned instruments must be returned and the band room will be officially closed at 5 p.m. on Friday.
Before the suspension of the Band-Uh!, the Cal Aggie Marching Band Alumni Association had been suspended in Winter Quarter when allegations against one of its members came to light, according to statements from Emily Galindo, the interim vice chancellor of Student Affairs.
“The review will also consider whether band administrators failed to appropriately respond to reports of misconduct and will include an assessment of the relationship with the alumni band,” Galindo said in a May 24 statement. “Within the Division of Student Affairs, Campus Recreation leadership has also initiated a review of policies, procedures, reporting and training, and is consulting with other UC campuses to ensure best practices.”
The suspension of Band-Uh! is not an unprecedented move for organizations of this type within the university, according to Galindo, who also noted that university leadership “is committed to conducting a thorough internal and external assessment to determine the best path forward to provide a safe and inclusive experience for all student band members.”
Ema Seijas, a former section leader in the band who still pays dues and a fifth-year animal science major, welcomed the suspension. She said that although she and others wanted the Band-Uh! placed on suspension, she never expected “the university would take it that far.”
“[The suspension is] what the band needs, because while there are extremely fun aspects — like music, like having pretty much a family in the band — it’s not something that can just cover up all the bad things that happen in the band,” Seijas said.
While this is a step in the right direction, according to Seijas, her relationships with band members remain strained because of the allegations that have come out and her participation in news articles.
“The people that I went forward with definitely are happy that this happened,” Seijas said. “I’m doing my best not to talk to other current members of the band because last time it happened, I just got a bunch of hate from them. So I can only imagine how mad they are right now.”
Heiser responded to the suspension via email.
“The safety of all CAMB students is paramount and the University decided to impose the interim suspension to determine the path forward to promote a safe and inclusive environment,” Heiser said. “The decision to suspend the band was a difficult one, but necessary in order to create the space needed to conduct a thorough review.”
Written by: Kenton Goldsby — firstname.lastname@example.org
Campus News reporter Claire Dodd contributed to this report.