BOWIE, Md. – It has been nearly a week since the band at Bowie State University was put on probation because of hazing allegations, but questions are still swirling around what actually happened.
The school has not revealed how many students were involved or how many separate hazing charges are being investigated.
“This is not at all what we expected,” Broderick Pitts told WUSA9 last week after school leaders scheduled a press conference.
Pitts was passionate, emotional, and ticked off after he and other students learned their band director, Doctor Adolph Wright, was out of a job.
“Our family has lost its father,” Pitts said after the announcement. “He is the male figure in my life and a bunch of other people can say the same thing.”
Pitts is the drum major of Bowie State University’s Symphony of Soul marching band.
“The raw emotion you saw at the press conference — at the conclusion of the press conference—that was all genuine,” Pitts told WUSA9’s Michael Quander on Wednesday.
Bowie State chose to change the band’s leadership and put the organization on probation after the school said it had enough evidence to prove hazing was happening.
“There were certain what were considered to be traditions that were imposed upon the first-year students,” Dr. Aminta Breaux told WUSA9 in an exclusive one-on-one interview.
Dr. Breaux was vague about what went down but said the hazing allegations included hitting and students being forced to do things they did not want to do.
The investigation also revealed, what the school referred to as, an unauthorized document called “the constitution.”
The document was allegedly a guideline for how first-year students would be treated and the punishments they would d face if the rules were broken.
“The Constitution they are referring to that outlines hazing has been in existence and on file at the University for 20 years,” Pitts said.
WUSA9 asked the Bowie State band president and drum major if he ever noticed any hazing activities.
“I can’t comment on that. He responded. “It’s a question that might be a part of the investigation, so I can’t talk about that.”
However, Pitts did talk about the band’s punishment.
The school first said band members would be allowed to play on campus and locally during the one-year probation.
However, Pitts explained the band is only being allowed to play at convocation and graduation for now.
“We just want to play,” Pitts said while pushing for university leaders to change their minds.
There is an ongoing criminal investigation in this case which could lead to fines or even jail time in the state of Maryland.