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Cowboy II

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So here’s the story. SLU’s never been great with logistics, but for years it never really affected the band, other than dealing with some simple annoyances. Things started changing this year, when the athletics department started asking for much more of their time. By that I mean the band was always a basketball only band, with maybe a volleyball game or 2 thrown in if it was doable. This fall, the athletics department started asking them to play at more games and maybe some events, frequently on short notice (48 hours). This increased expectation was unsustainable for many people, and several students dropped band during the fall. Our director met with athletics department officials to discuss this issue, specifically that it was creating a mental health issue for members, which include current SLU students. The athletics department did nothing in response to address these concerns.

Our director determined that he was no longer comfortable working with an organization that refused to provide adequate support, so he tendered his resignation recently. Tonight was his last men’s basketball game. He was told by SLU that they were going to announce that he was retiring during a timeout tonight. He asked repeatedly that this not be done, and that he didn’t want them to make a spectacle of him, but SLU did it anyway. What makes it worse is that by calling it a “retirement” it glosses over the actual reason for the resignation. 
 

Several of us, myself included, likely played our last game tonight. Admittedly I’m a part-time alumni player who plays a few games a year when the students go on break, so I’m not a huge loss, but there are others who are bigger losses who won’t return. Some will stay and see what happens after the first of the year.

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1 minute ago, DeSmetBilliken said:

So here’s the story. SLU’s never been great with logistics, but for years it never really affected the band, other than dealing with some simple annoyances. Things started changing this year, when the athletics department started asking for much more of their time. By that I mean the band was always a basketball only band, with maybe a volleyball game or 2 thrown in if it was doable. This fall, the athletics department started asking them to play at more games and maybe some events, frequently on short notice (48 hours). This increased expectation was unsustainable for many people, and several students dropped band during the fall. Our director met with athletics department officials to discuss this issue, specifically that it was creating a mental health issue for members, which include current SLU students. The athletics department did nothing in response to address these concerns.

Our director determined that he was no longer comfortable working with an organization that refused to provide adequate support, so he tendered his resignation recently. Tonight was his last men’s basketball game. He was told by SLU that they were going to announce that he was retiring during a timeout tonight. He asked repeatedly that this not be done, and that he didn’t want them to make a spectacle of him, but SLU did it anyway. What makes it worse is that by calling it a “retirement” it glosses over the actual reason for the resignation. 
 

Several of us, myself included, likely played our last game tonight. Admittedly I’m a part-time alumni player who plays a few games a year when the students go on break, so I’m not a huge loss, but there are others who are bigger losses who won’t return. Some will stay and see what happens after the first of the year.

This is ridiculous. Thank you for sharing. Hope this helps get the word out.

If the U wants a full time band on call you all should be getting paid appropriately for it.

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I love our band. Can you elaborate on what type of mental health issues these scenarios caused? I'm assuming all the mental stress came from watching this team and having to deal with staying upbeat and positive when every emotion in your body wants to run away at times. If not, I'm curious what those issues are. 

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3 hours ago, Tonka said:

I love our band. Can you elaborate on what type of mental health issues these scenarios caused? I'm assuming all the mental stress came from watching this team and having to deal with staying upbeat and positive when every emotion in your body wants to run away at times. If not, I'm curious what those issues are. 

The majority of the band these past few years has been alumni. Alumni have full time jobs and families and can usually attend basketball games only. If you add in trying to schedule all kinds of things last minute, engagement goes down. Athletics doesn't or refuses to understand or appreciate this, so people just stop showing up and it makes it hard for them to play anything. Add in to the fact that Athletics didn't listen to a word of their concern and the director gets burnt out but AD tried to make it look like it wasn't their fault. 

 

Source: Was in band when I was at SLU and am still tight with current members. 

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6 minutes ago, dlarry said:

Do other schools bands play at other events or do they just have basketball or football only bands too?

George Mason, for instance, has a basketball specific band plus several other smaller groups/ensembles to play for other events/sports. The "Green Machine" as they are called, are basketball ONLY. SLU was trying to make what used to be the basketball only band do absolutely everything with the same distribution of personnel. 

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Just now, BrettJollyComedyHour said:

George Mason, for instance, has a basketball specific band plus several other smaller groups/ensembles to play for other events/sports. The "Green Machine" as they are called, are basketball ONLY. SLU was trying to make what used to be the basketball only band do absolutely everything with the same distribution of personnel. 

Thanks for the information. 

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So the band members told May they can only work basketball games, and May says, “no, you’ll do more for no wages and like it!” 

Band director accuses slu AD of ignoring mental health and goes nuclear on social media.  

there has to be more to this.  Some piece of info is missing. 
 

I assume the band is a volunteer gig, but Is the band director a paid position?  

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52 minutes ago, SLU_Nick said:

So the band members told May they can only work basketball games, and May says, “no, you’ll do more for no wages and like it!” 

Band director accuses slu AD of ignoring mental health and goes nuclear on social media.  

there has to be more to this.  Some piece of info is missing. 
 

I assume the band is a volunteer gig, but Is the band director a paid position?  

Band Director is paid. Everyone else is volunteering their time for next to nothing in return. Students used to get a modest scholarship each semester until a few years ago when they discontinued it. Pep band is/was also a class one could take at the University to go towards fine arts requirements at 0.5 a credit hour per semester. The only requirement was to show up to a certain number of games.

 

E: I'll add here, too, that the director uses his own money for instrument repairs, new equipment, new drums, etc. He used to have a standing P.O. at a music shop which the athletic department used to cover. Most of what you see on the stand was paid for out of pocket by his director salary, which is not much.

Edited by BrettJollyComedyHour
Adding additional info.
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46 minutes ago, BC1764 said:

Sometimes ? The’ve been doing this for six DECADES.

So the question is, why do we put up with it ?

But it’s the constantly new and unique ways to shoot yourself in the foot that they keep coming up with that makes it so interesting. So they over the years they take away the small scholarships they used to give out, then take away the tiny credit they used to give, and now expect them to show up anywhere on little notice with no pay  (despite the fact that it’s becoming more and more an alumni thing do to other changes mentioned earlier). And when the band director says anything, they sweep him under the rug, nothing to see here. And the band is great, always entertaining.  This isn’t an issue for Chris May, this is an issue for Dr Fred Pestello himself to address.  Otherwise…

image.gif.f1c749c91de9ec96cd4a38d26e9587da.gif

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19 minutes ago, ARon said:

I've been saying to anyone who would listen that despite all the positive projections, Ford is on the hot seat.  Sounds like maybe May needs to be as well.

if the BoT cared about athletics you might have a point.   they do not and likely never will.   Chris May is the best AD SLU has had in my Billiken fandom.   Be careful what you wish for in this regard.

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6 minutes ago, Lord Elrond said:

But it’s the constantly new and unique ways to shoot yourself in the foot that they keep coming up with that makes it so interesting. So they over the years they take away the small scholarships they used to give out, then take away the tiny credit they used to give, and now expect them to show up anywhere on little notice with no pay  (despite the fact that it’s becoming more and more an alumni thing do to other changes mentioned earlier). And when the band director says anything, they sweep him under the rug, nothing to see here. And the band is great, always entertaining.  This isn’t an issue for Chris May, this is an issue for Dr Fred Pestello himself to address.  Otherwise…

image.gif.f1c749c91de9ec96cd4a38d26e9587da.gif

I'm out of reactions, but yes I agree. 

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30 minutes ago, ARon said:

I've been saying to anyone who would listen that despite all the positive projections, Ford is on the hot seat.  Sounds like maybe May needs to be as well.

Not a soul on the coaching staff and athletic department should be left unscathed.

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