SACRAMENTO, Calif. — After reports of sexual harassment, assault and hazing, the University of California, Davis has decided to place the Cal Aggie Marching Band (CAMB) on an interim suspension.
The university hired an external law firm to investigate whether band members have violated university policy after several band members came forward to report the organization.
Ema Seijas and her friend were two of the students who came forward. Seijas is a former section leader of the Cal Aggie Marching Band (CAMB) who quit just a few weeks ago.
She told ABC10 that when she first joined, it seemed to be everything she was looking for in an organization and she thought, "This is exactly what I want to do."
However, she chose to leave after her friend shared shocking stories of unkind treatment at parties.
"My friend came to me with stories of what had happened to her even at these parties," Seijas said. "How she had been told to kill herself at these parties. Nobody did anything. I was at these parties. How is this happening? I wanted to believe this band all the people were doing was having fun. Nobody was getting hurt but people are getting hurt. You just have to look closer."
Seijas confirmed that there was heavy drinking and a lot of hazing in the organization, but said what she's seen is not as bad as what others are have gone through and are reporting.
She also confirmed reports of a book called a "hymnal" that band members were given, and said it was filled with sexually inappropriate content and songs they would sing at parties.
Seijas said her views were different as a freshman because the hazing made her feel close to her band peers.
"You come out feeling like how hazing is designed to make you feel," she said. "You come out of it feeling like you're closer to these people (thinking) 'Everyone's gone through this.'"
She hopes that by stepping forward, she and her friend have brought awareness to the inappropriate behavior.
"Nobody thinks about it happening in band," Seijas said. "They think of it happening at fraternity parties. They can turn and look at us all they want —they're gonna only see the fun music loving band because they don't take the band seriously for parties cause we're a bunch of nerds."
The CAMB will be on interim suspension until a review of the recent allegations is completed.
Band members will not be able to play at graduation commencements this year and were told that all equipment and instruments that belong to the university must be returned to the band room by Friday at 5 p.m.
ABC 10 received a copy of an email sent to band members Wednesday afternoon from Jeff Heiser, the associate director of recreation for UC Davis. It can be read below.
"It really sucks that it took this long, but I'm really happy that the band is finally being investigated because this was our goal the entire time," Seijas said. "We just didn't expect it to happen."
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A journalist at UC Davis Nick Irvin decided to investigate and write what UC Davis English Professor Joshua Clover said about police in 2014 and 2016. His story has now been shared nationwide. And the university has issued a statement condemning what the professor said.