Bowie State marching band gets 1 year probation, director resigns after hazing policy violation

(FOX 5 DC) -- Bowie State University says it has placed the Symphony of Soul marching band on one-year probation and its band director has resigned following serious hazing allegations.

University officials made the announcement on Friday that the band will only be allowed to participate in ceremonial events on campus for the next year and is prohibited from traveling anywhere that would require staying overnight. The band's summer camp for 2019 has also been canceled.

School leadership stated the band director had resigned and said assistant band director Billy Bennett would remain in charge until an interim director was appointed during the spring semester. The search for a permanent replacement is underway and school officials said they plan to have a person in place by August 2019.

The university said their investigation revealed clear violations of the school's hazing policy, but said the actions did not reach a criminal level. Along with the probation, the school announced all students would be receiving training on hazing prevention and a program was being instituted to help the academic success of band members.

In an email issued to the campus in October, school officials announced the band had been suspended "effective immediately to ensure the continued safety of our students, pending further internal investigation." The university did not elaborate on the nature of the alleged hazing activities, but called them "serious allegations of hazing."

Symphony of Soul states on its website that the marching band is the largest student organization on campus. Bowie State is Maryland's oldest historically black university.