Jackson State Band Has Less "Boom" PDF Print E-mail
By Tiffany Edmondson -- Black College Wire   

More than 40 members of Jackson State University’s 280-member marching band, "The Sonic Boom of the South,"  have been suspended and may face criminal charges amid allegations of hazing.

In addition to the hazing charge and failure to comply with university rules and regulations, the students also may be charged with assault and battery and moral turpitude.

Kenon White for Black College Wire
Sonic Boom also accused of hazing 2 years ago
Hazing allegations came to light Friday just before the football season’s first home opener against Grambling State University. According to JSU Associate Vice President for Student Life Marcus Chanay, the hazing accusations stem from a student suffering a fractured shoulder during an off-campus event.

“On Friday, September 18, 2009, the Division of Student Life was contacted by a parent who reported that her son was hazed off-campus by upperclassmen band members out of the percussion section. She indicated to us that her son had been hospitalized for a fractured shoulder,” Chanay said.

The JSU Department of Public Safety launched an investigation which determined that charges would be filed. The Jackson Police Department is also investigating the off-campus incident. Chanay added: “There were approximately 22 students hazed. There are no charges pending against the entire band. We will continue educating the entire band on hazing.”

Some band members were not allowed to perform during Saturday’s halftime show. Any allegations of hazing would be investigated and handled by Judicial Services, which falls under the Division of Student Life. According to the JSU Student Handbook University Policies and Procedures Relating to Student Conduct: “Participation in hazing subjects the individual or organization to University disciplinary action and may be punishable by law.”

Blue & White Flash
Sonic Boom of the South
The handbook also states that judicial penalties for hazing are: suspension; indefinite suspension; expulsion. Similar accusations were made on Oct. 9, 2007, when the band was under the leadership of former band director Lewis Liddell and the performances were suspended pending an investigation.

Approximately 50 band members assembled to protest the university’s decision to halt their upcoming performances and suspension was lifted a few days later. They were however placed on a one-year probation and advised that any further violations would cause immediate suspension of the Sonic Boom of the South. All band members had to participate in education sessions on hazing.

Whether the allegations are true or not, many students believe an accusation like this creates negative attention towards the university, its programs and students. “I disagree with it (hazing) because it goes against all by-laws of how you should treat students,” said Brian Bowens, a freshman biology major from Westpoint, Miss.

Antonio Groves, a biology major from Greenville, Miss., had a different viewpoint about the allegations. “I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Everyone who gets in the band already knows that it is an organization and that things may go on within it,” said Groves. Groves also said that it is up to the individual to make the choice if they want to be a part of it or not.

Tiffany Edmondson writes for The Blue & White Flash, the Jackson State University student newspaper, which originally published this article.


Posted Sep. 24, 2009
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