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Tuskegee University band protest leads to director being replaced

(Photo credit: Shutterstock.com / Lori Monahan Borden)

Students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities are making sure their voices are heard and their protests are making national news. Last month, students at Howard University in Washington, D.C. started voicing their demands and called for the school to address its problem with mold.


Rev. Jesse Jackson even joined the students at one of the protests.

Well, Tuskegee University has followed suit and the students’ protests have led to a change in administration. Tuskegee University will replace its band director and make other changes in response to members of the Marching Crimson Pipers refusing to perform to protest the state of the music program.


WSFA TV reported that the band issued a statement previously stating they wouldn’t participate in university events due to concerns over leadership, funding and recruitment. The band missed two football game performances in a row for the past two weeks as they held true to their word.

Tuskegee University, President Charlotte Morris, posted an update Tuesday saying she has spoken with school and band leaders and has taken action as a result. Warren Duncan will replace John Leonard as acting band director. An assistant director will be hired to oversee day-to-day operations, and a review will look at budgets, new uniforms and instrument acquisition.

The Alabama university told the Associated Press that an analysis of the band’s budget will be informed by “historical context,” and officials will look at the funding levels of scholarships for band members.

“Though more work is ahead of us, my goal is to create a shared vision for a path forward. Centrally, this includes how we can work together to ensure that the university’s actions reflect the Tuskegee community’s deep appreciation for the band and our unwavering commitment to students’ success,” Morris further commented to WSFA TV.


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