TULSA — University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren responded to recent protests concerning the Pride of Oklahoma marching band performance and traditions. Boren’s comments came during the Board of Regents meeting in Tulsa.
Many of those upset about the direction the Pride may be taking under new marching band director Justin Stolarik have handed out flyers prior to football games, asking football fans to remain silent and refuse applause during the band’s pregame and halftime shows. Some Pride members have protested by skipping band practice.
In response to such actions, Boren said he was disappointed in this small group for forgetting the important OU tradition of hospitality.
“We have a tradition of hospitality to everyone who comes to our campus. It doesn’t matter where you come from or what department you’re in,” Boren said. “Urging people to deprive the band members of the applause they’ve worked so hard for is just un-Sooner like.”
Despite attempts to deter support of the band during football games, fans have continued to applaud and have appeared to enjoy each show.
“That’s what really puzzles me about this controversy,” Boren said. “The fans, at every game, have received the Pride very well.”
He said some people may be upset because change is hard.
“People have a hard time with change, even if the difference is for the better,” Boren said. “There are no plans to make any changes in the band director’s position.”