VSU marching band suspended amid hazing investigation

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Virginia State University’s marching band has been suspended while officials investigate hazing allegations.

VSU Police is investigating hazing allegations involving members of the Trojan Explosion Marching Band, some of which have been substantiated, according to a University spokesperson Pamela Tolson.

Due to the investigation, the marching band leadership recommended the suspension of all band performances pending completion of the investigation. University administration says they are in agreement with the band leadership’s decision.

“The University administration takes ALL allegations of hazing very seriously and has a ZERO tolerance against hazing,” Tolson said in a statement.

The specific details about the alleged hazing have not been made public.

VSU sophomore and football player Seth Dobbs described Saturday's game against Shaw University as "quiet." The band wasn't playing in the stands when the Trojans defeated the Bears 35 to zero.

Charles Jackson-Hicks, a sophomore and striker on the school's football team, was surprised to hear about the suspension.

"You hear the band in the morning, you hear them at nighttime, you just always hear the band," he explained.

Some students said band members would often practice until well after midnight. They wondered about homecoming on October 19.

"I don’t know how homecoming will be without the band," Jackson-Hicks wondered. "They come through marching through campus and they set the mood and tone. It’ll be different."

The school did not release a timeline for their investigation. A school spokesperson said in a statement hazing could lead to misdemeanor or felony charges:

The safety of students, faculty, and staff is Virginia State University (VSU) administration’s top priority. The University administration takes ALL allegations of hazing very seriously and has a ZERO tolerance against hazing.

The VSU Police is investigating hazing allegations involving members of the Trojan Explosion Marching Band, some of which have been substantiated.  As a result, the Trojan Explosion Marching Band leadership has recommended the suspension of all band performances pending completion of the investigation by the VSU Police and the band leadership. The University administration is in agreement with the band leadership’s decision.

The entire University community is expected to adhere to VSU’s anti-hazing policy published in the student handbook. The University conducts mandatory anti-hazing training for students and advisors. The policy clearly states “every form of hazing to include conspiracy to haze is prohibited. Commission of hazing can be considered either a misdemeanor or a felony. Participation in hazing may result in both individual and organizational disciplinary action.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can submit a news tip here.

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