Excerpt: “In early August, a letter questioning the same culture was drafted and signed by 135 current and former marching band members. It detailed sexual assault allegations from three anonymous sources directed toward a tenor sax player who graduated in 2019, as well as the sexual assault-permitting culture they said was pervasive in the organization. The letter also alleged a “failure to effectively address cases of … toxic band culture” as a whole.
“We want to reiterate that we love the band,” read a note sent alongside the letter. “This letter and its message are about more than just one person, more than one case. We chose to participate because of the band’s mission of spirit and inclusion. What we are asking, in this letter, is that they prove us right.”
USC is investigating, according to the story.
And then there was this: “Additionally, it revealed that the alto saxophone section, as recently as 2016, would number its Black students and give them nicknames based on those numbers, and said the flute section gave students of color nicknames based around syrup and pancakes in a nod to the racially-stereotyped branding of Aunt Jemima. The anonymous alumnus who authored the post graduated in 2016.
“Current band members confirmed these instances but said that they view them as a relic of the past.”
And here is a band statement:
“The TMB is looking forward to participating in a Climate Assessment to improve the organization’s environment,” said the band’s leadership when asked for a statement. “The health and well-being of our members is our top priority, and the senior leadership of the program is working ardently to make the necessary changes.”