WJTV News Channel 12 - UT director of bands suspended for insubordination

UT director of bands suspended for insubordination, interim director named

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UT Director of Bands Gary Sousa UT Director of Bands Gary Sousa
Interim Director of Bands Don Ryder (Source: University of Tennessee) Interim Director of Bands Don Ryder (Source: University of Tennessee)
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KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The University of Tennessee has placed Director of Bands Gary Sousa on administrative leave for the remainder of the semester.

Don Ryder will serve as interim director of bands for the remainder of the season.

UT officials say insubordination, misrepresentation of facts and a lack of confidence in Sousa's ability to work constructively and collaboratively with others are the reasons for the suspension.

The administrative leave is pending a full review.

"We fully support the Pride of the Southland Band," Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek said. "We want every student musician to have a great experience and enjoy being part of a wonderful and cherished tradition."

Cheek met with members of the Pride of the Southland band Monday afternoon to discuss the change in leadership and to ask for their help.

"I wholeheartedly support the right of students to be engaged and advocate for a cause about which they are passionate. But I am troubled by the use of inaccurate or misleading statements," Cheek said.

UT officials say Sousa's promotion of misleading claims to alumni and band members 
created a divisive and counterproductive environment.

Sousa encouraged students and alumni to speak out against the Athletics Department over reduced playing time and reductions in travel and budget.

In a letter to Sousa, Provost Susan Martin noted, "Competition for resources and conflict between competing interests within the university are normal. Your actions to circumvent the normal methods of conflict resolution are shockingly insubordinate."

Sousa has served as director of bands and professor of music since 1997. He is a tenured faculty member in the School of Music.

Ryder has worked for UT for 14 years. He also conducts the UT Symphonic Band and teaches undergraduate instrumental conducting.

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