Queen's University — Since 1873
18th November 2011

Bands banned for term

Queen’s Bands cheerleaders perform during halftime at the Queen’s football game against the Western Mustangs on Oct. 22 at Richardson Stadium.
Queen’s Bands cheerleaders perform during halftime at the Queen’s football game against the Western Mustangs on Oct. 22 at Richardson Stadium. (Justin Chin)

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Queen’s Bands was suspended yesterday after controversial material was brought to university administrators.

After the announcement, the Journal received three years of pamphlets entitled ‘The Banner’ which were distributed to band members.

The pamphlets contained phrases like “I will rape you with a lamp” and photos of band members as “people with dicks in their mouths.”

Front page titles over the past three years included: “Mouth raping your little sister since 1905,” “Sucking the nipple and biting the tit since 1905” and “Perpetuating racial stereotypes since 1905.”

The pamphlets described The Banner as “our dirty gossip rag.” On Sept. 17 2010, an issue of it warned first years not to misplace a copy.

“We poke fun at people who we think can take it,” a letter inside that September issue stated.

Inside the pamphlets were images of genitalia and pictures of animals and slugs under the headline “Beastiality’s Best…?”

Some of the pamphlets included the lyrics of Queen’s Bands songs, which contained phrases like “chew me, screw me, suck me, fuck me, yaaay Queen’s.” There were also heckling suggestions for the annual RMC and Queen’s hockey game, the Carr Harris Cup like “we hope you can shoot the Taliban better than you shoot the puck!”

Yesterday afternoon the Queen’s Bands Executive sent an email to bands members ordering them to destroy all hard copy or digital versions of the Queen’s Bands Songbook.

“Failure to do so upon receipt of this email will result in your immediate expulsion from Queen’s Bands,” the email read. “There will not be any discussion on this matter.”

At 5:30 p.m., Queen’s Bands met with the AMS Executive and several members of the University including Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Anne Tierney to discuss the situation and the next steps for the group.

In an interview with the Journal Tierney said Queen’s Bands material was brought to her desk early last week from an unknown source.

“It was material that included very offensive language, degrading and demeaning language and I’m not going to repeat it,” she said.

Tierney said after the material came to her attention, she met with the bands executive, other members of the administration and the AMS.

“We then had told [the bands executive] that we would have a letter out to them by Monday of the conditions and consequences of what we saw and the results of that discussion,” she said.

Due to the suspension, Queen’s Bands won’t be appearing at events for the remainder of the semester, including the John Orr dinner occurring tomorrow night.

“They’re going to be working on an action plan to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again and ensuring that they create a culture of inclusiveness,” Tierney said.

Human Rights and Equity training will also be necessary steps for the band to move forward, Tierney said, adding that the group will meet with the University mid-January to discuss the progress made on the action plan.

“We know how disappointing this is for them, it’s disappointing for us, the University, it’s disappointing for the AMS,” she said. “Our hope and our whole goal is to put them on a pathway so that we can continue the wonderful tradition of the bands participating in events at Queen’s.”

Queen’s Bands officials declined interview requests from the Journal yesterday.

In a statement issued last night by Queen’s Bands on the AMS website, they said they “have taken responsibility for their prior actions.”

“We regretfully inform you that our performances have been temporarily cancelled. Through this adversity, we expect to emerge as a strong organization,” they said in the statement.

This isn’t the first time Queen’s Bands has received complaints about their distributed content.

In 2007, the Journal reported that Queen’s Bands issued a letter of apology after flyers distributed for cheerleading tryouts contained lines like “Hotties wanted” and “Do you like this spread” in reference to a sexually suggestive photo.

AMS President Morgan Campbell said the decision to suspend Queen’s Bands was jointly made with the University administration.

“We also consulted with the Athletics and Recreation and the Advancement office because they’re the ones who invite the bands to represent Queen’s University at a lot of their events,” Campbell, ArtSci ’11, said.

“They were very supportive of the conditions that were placed upon the group.”

Campbell said the material was brought to the AMS’s attention by the office of student affairs.

“We were deeply concerned because one of the conditions for all groups who ratify with the AMS is that they buy into the AMS mission statement,” Campbell said.

The group will still receive funding from the AMS in full for the remainder of the academic year, Campbell said.

- With files from Jake Edmiston

Copy of the Queen’s Bands Songbook -
**Caution: Vulgar language**


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