UT Fires Band Director For Wanting More Rocky Top

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UT Fires Band Director For Wanting More Rocky Top

Post  Carolina Kat on Tue Oct 15, 2013 2:37 am

Tennessee Fires Band Director for Wanting More Rocky Top on the Road

Posted by: Scott Anderson in Football 1 min ago

If you have ever been to a Kentucky/Tennessee Football game in Commonwealth Stadium, you know how deafening the sound of Rocky Top every time something goes well for the Volunteers.

Well, the band director, Gary Sousa (no relation to John Philip), has been fired after he had complained about not getting enough money in his budget to travel with the team for road games.

This from the AP via

This decision comes five days after Tennessee’s band issued a statement saying it was in a ”bitter battle” with the school’s athletic department regarding the band’s travel and Neyland Stadium’s game-day atmosphere.

”You will not earn my support through threats, petulance, public disruption or whining,” Tennessee chancellor Jimmy Cheek said in a letter he wrote to Sousa on Monday. ”You are a professional band director and a tenured faculty member; please act like it.”

Sousa didn’t immediately respond to a phone message.

Officials say Sousa promoted misleading claims to alumni and band members, encouraging them to speak out against the athletic department over limited playing time and budget cuts reducing the band’s travel to away games.

Provost Susan Martin wrote Monday in a letter to Sousa that ”your actions to circumvent the normal methods of conflict resolution are shockingly insubordinate.”

Sousa, a tenured faculty member in the university’s School of Music, has been the director of bands and a professor of music at Tennessee since 1997. University spokeswoman Karen Simsen said Sousa was on paid leave from all duties for the rest of the semester and that his other School of Music responsibilities would be reassigned. Simsen said Sousa earns $152,000 a year.

In the statement it released Wednesday, the band complained that the athletic department had ”slashed” the band’s travel budget. The band also said it had a reduced role in home football games because of all the commercials and pre-recorded music that played on the public address system. University officials said the band played ”significantly more” at Tennessee’s last game against Georgia than it had in the Volunteers’ previous home games this season.

Carolina Kat

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