Stanford band reinstated early from suspension

The Stanford band is back.

University provost John Etchemendy sided with the group's appeal, ending a suspension that was initially slated to last for the rest of this school year.

The band is now in provisional status through the end of the 2016-17 academic year instead, so it can resume activities.

In December, Stanford announced that a campus Organization Conduct Board found the band responsible for violations of alcohol policy and a previously imposed travel ban.

This followed alcohol, Title IX and organizational conduct policy violations that the university announced in May 2015. The OCB reported "a systemic cultural problem" in the band and wrote that "the outstanding issues have not been taken seriously by the band or its leadership and that nothing more will be accomplished without extreme consequences."

At the time, Stanford said it is "initiating a process to develop a new organizational framework under the leadership of a new music director." The OCB recommended that the band be suspended until the end of the 2017-18 school year, but vice provost Greg Boardman shortened the suspension so it would last only through June, citing concerns that the band might not survive if forced out of commission for any longer.

But in its appeal, band leadership argued that even this shorter suspension could be irreversibly damaging, and it outlined a proposal to make changes on its own.

Etchemendy, who is stepping down from his provost role on Tuesday, agreed with the band's appeal in a six-page letter.

"I am now convinced that a two-quarter suspension would pose almost as severe an existential threat as the 18-month suspension initially recommended," Etchemendy wrote.

He plans to appoint a four-member oversight committee for the duration of the band's provisional status. Etchemendy wrote that meetings with the band's new management team have convinced him that the band "is fully capable of designing operational structures and processes that will result in lasting cultural change."

"While I am completely confident that the present leadership will make this happen, if progress toward this goal does not continue, the university will be forced to reassess whether additional measures need to be taken," Etchemendy wrote.

In a statement, the band expressed gratitude to its supporters, who have sent more than 280 letters of support to the university since the December suspension.

"We're still the same irreverent, funky band we've always been," the statement read. "Well before this suspension, our leadership committed to member-led reforms that have made band more accessible, welcome, and safe while preserving our character, and we remain dedicated to that initiative."