Band loses beat
Drum line suspended after hazing allegation filed
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 12:09
Ain’t no rhythm without them drums. And the beat gets lost too.
The N.C. Central University drum line, an integral part of the Marching Sound Machine Band, was suspended from all band-related activity Sept. 10.
Administrators suspended the drum line after an NCCU student made a hazing allegation. NCCU administrators passed the investigation to campus police. Because the allegation was made through the NCCU Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and referred to campus police, an incident report is unavailable. Campus police investigate all alleged criminal activity at NCCU.
The allegation has not been proven. According to the NCCU Code of Conduct, “The University reserves the right to proceed under the Student Code of Conduct with a hearing and the possible imposition of a sanction, prior to, concurrent with or subsequent to, civil litigation, criminal arrest and/or criminal prosecution.”
The NCCU Student Code of Conduct defines hazing as “Physically abusing or harassing another person or creating a situation which produces physical hurt or discomfort, severe emotional distress, embarrassment, or ridicule of another person.”
Friday, members of the Marching Sound Machine were gathering petition signatures inside the Alfonso-Elder Student Union.
The petition said the allegation brought unwanted media attention to NCCU and the band as a whole. According to the petition, its purpose was to bring the “truth to the light.”
“We need our NCCU community support to help bring the truth to the light, help return our focus to our education and ‘bring the funk back,’” read the petition.
A Sound Machine member who declined to provide her name, major or classification, said some band members have been chastised in class.
She said the media is unfairly portraying band members, the drum line and NCCU students in general. She did not say how simply reporting an allegation was an unfair portrayal.
A hashtag with comments supporting the Drum Line, #FreeDOA, has appeared on the social media site Twitter.
Chancellor Becton sent an email Wednesday, Sept 12 informing the NCCU community of the suspension. “North Carolina Central University has a zero-tolerance policy on hazing. Any planned or executed activity, hazing or otherwise, that does not prepare our students for future success and endangers their health and well being is reprehensible, grounds for immediate action and counterproductive to our priorities, policies and procedures,” wrote Becton.
According to NCCU’s Office of Public Relations, the investigation will likely conclude this week. HBCU marching bands have been under fire nationwide recently.
Robert Champion, a Florida A&M University student and drum major with the famed Marching 100, died after an alleged hazing incident last November. James R. Ammons, former chancellor of NCCU, resigned as Florida A&M chancellor after the incident.
Clark Atlanta University suspended its Mighty Marching Panthers on Aug. 30 after an allegation presented the possibility of hazing.