Saturday, October 11, 2008


According to the San Francisco Chronicle, trouble is a brewin’ over the UC Davis band. The Aggies have one of those student-run pep bands like we wrote about recently when the Princeton kids ran afoul of decorum down at The Citadel.

When he was hired as director of the loud, rowdy Cal Aggie Marching Band, nobody told Tom Slabaugh about the tradition of "naked van” among other things. So now, Slabaugh is on “stress leave” after filing a sexual harassment suit against the band members calling them in a legal document: “a hostile work environment.”

Really, we aren’t kidding. Here at TAH, we take our pep bands quite seriously.

Slabaugh claims to have witnessed "ridiculous, disturbing and offensive" behavior…Did anybody tell him they were college students?

From the start, Slabaugh found rehearsals disrupted by "impolite talking, inappropriate and obscene gestures, dropping of pants and women removing their shirts," he wrote. He said he couldn't get the band to shape up because students ignored his admonitions.

Here’s a partial list of the shenanigans:

Naked Van: On last year's road trip to the football game with Portland State, a trumpet player yelled "naked van!" and everybody in the vehicle - men and women alike - stripped to their underwear.

Window Dressing: A sousaphone player and a clarinetist wrote "I (heart) BOOBS" in masking tape on the van's window, causing a motorist who saw the van on I-5 in Oregon to complain to the university.

Going Up?: Four drunken band members were caught urinating in a dormitory elevator, and at band picnic day, four others took their uniform pants down and simulated the incident for a photographer.

Drumming Up Support: Slabaugh said he found a bass drummer drinking beer in the drum room and urged the band council to punish her. After she was suspended for two weeks, her friends blamed Slabaugh.

Bad Santa: At Christmas, he received a card signed by trombone players with a picture of Santa Claus. "I saw you _________ (sounds like “fingerpainting)," the message read.

(Hey, it’s a family publication…sort of…)

All of that is good, but don’t forget the ACC has the chops to hang in there with the best of pep band bad behavior. In 2002, the University of Virginia’s pep band disbanded temporarily after a halftime skit mocking the University of West Virginia as hillbillies.


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