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Bowie State Marching Band Director Resigns Following Hazing Investigation

Band members said they were paddled, harassed and ridiculed

Bowie State University's band director resigned, and the band was placed on a year's probation, following a hazing investigation.

The investigation found Symphony of Soul Band members violated university policy on hazing and the student code of conduct by using physical discipline for conduct infractions and requiring new band members to provide service for other band members. Members said they were paddled, harassed and ridiculed.

The campus police department has opened an investigation.

Investigators reviewed documents, video and written communication and found hazing was prevalent and band director Dr. Adolph Wright knew about it.

Many members of the band expressed disappointment and became emotional Friday.

“Our family has lost its father,” said senior drum major Broderick Pitts.

He said Wright was more than just a band leader.

“For myself, who has lost every male figure in my biological family, Dr. Wright is the leader for me,” he said. “He is the male figure in my life, and a bunch of other people can say the same thing.”

Before Wright handed in his resignation, the university released a statement saying he was placed on administrative leave.

The band was placed on a year's probation. While on probation, the band will not be allowed to take overnight trips, and the 2019 summer band camp will be canceled.

No new students will be allowed to join the band until fall of 2020.

Assistant band director Billy Bennett was appointed acting band director while a search for a new director is conducted.

University President Aminta H. Breaux said in a statement the anti-hazing training currently provided to the band will be enhanced.

“When you begin to create that culture of dependency where people lose their individuality, and now it’s all about the group, and you saw the group, and we’ve got to come back from that and help them understand what that hazing means,” Breaux said. “It create a culture that is not a good thing to have.”

The band was suspended Nov. 2 in the wake of allegations against the group. No members of the band have been disciplined, but that could change with the results of the investigation.

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