Bowie State cancels marching band performances after finding 'significant evidence' of hazing

Bowie State University's marching band was suspended Friday after hazing allegations against the group surfaced.
Bowie State University's marching band was suspended Friday after hazing allegations against the group surfaced. (Kim Hairston / Baltimore Sun)

Bowie State University’s marching band has been suspended and the school canceled its performance at the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association football championship Saturday in the wake of hazing allegations against the group, according to the university.

The Symphony of Soul Band was suspended Friday after claims of hazing within the band surfaced. The suspension also affects the university’s pep band, concert band and jazz band.


“Bowie State University has become aware of serious allegations of hazing affecting the Symphony of Soul Band,” spokeswoman Cassandra Robinson said in a statement, which also was emailed to the university community Friday. “In light of these allegations, the university has suspended all band activity effective immediately to ensure the continued safety of our students, pending further internal investigation.”

A former University of Maryland student charged with fatally stabbing a Bowie State student in the spring was indicted on a hate-crime charge Tuesday by a Prince George’s County grand jury.

In a separate statement Wednesday night, Robinson said the university “found sufficient evidence to confirm the existence of hazing activities.”

The university has suspended all band performances.

“Further investigation is needed to determine next steps to be taken through the student judicial process, but we remain committed to concluding the process as soon as possible and resuming the normal operations of the band,” Robinson said in a statement.

The records from Maryland's public universities, which have investigated the allegations of hazing by fraternities, sororities and athletic teams in recent years, shed new light on rituals long cloaked in secrecy and shame.

It’s unclear what type of hazing is alleged to have been conducted in the band.

Adolph E. Wright directs the university bands. Wright, who has served as the bands’ director for 20 years, did not respond to requests for comment.