The Cadets drum corps of Allentown will stay closer to home than planned this summer, having recently canceled all of its West Coast shows following the firing of its director amid sexual-misconduct allegations.
But one local institution isn't ready to open its doors.
Citing "ongoing concerns" about the corps' leadership, the University of Pennsylvania has nixed several events connected to the Cadets that had been scheduled at Franklin Field. They include a drum corps show in June, several days of Cadets practice in August, and a high school band competition in October.
"We had a lot of concerns," said Kushol Gupta, assistant director of the University of Pennsylvania Band, which is a part of Penn Athletics. "We still have concerns about how they're managing the organization and the events. And that's an important consideration in bringing these events to the university."
Penn made the decision last month shortly after nine women accused longtime Cadets director George Hopkins of sexual harassment or assault. Two more women have since come forward. Hopkins quickly resigned. That was followed by the resignation of the full board of directors of Youth Education in the Arts, the nonprofit that runs the Cadets and also operates about 150 annual high school band competitions around the country.
The university's move is one sign of how the storied corps, among the oldest and most decorated in the country, is still reeling from and trying to rebuild after Hopkins' ouster.
The corps remains on probation and under the close watch of Drum Corps International, the activity's sanctioning body. The results of a sweeping independent review into the allegations against Hopkins and the nonprofit's practices is forthcoming. And the newly installed board of directors is consumed with tasks big, like searching for a new CEO, and small, like getting the old CEO, Hopkins, to return his company car and computer.
(After repeated requests and a threat of legal action, Hopkins dropped off his car and computer last week.)
Doug Rutherford, the board's chairman, said amid the challenges, it was prudent to cancel the summer tour's West Coast shows.
"There were both financial and operational risks of this tour and the distance involved and the new locations involved," said Rutherford. "When you remove the executive director, corps director, and the program coordinator all at once, there's a lot of space to fill and a lot of roles to fill."
He said the changes shaved more than 2,000 miles off the tour, which will offer a substantial savings in fuel alone.
As for Penn's concerns, Rutherford said he had not spoken directly with anyone from the university and could not respond. He said the nonprofit has found new locations for all the canceled events but is not ready to announce the locations.
Gupta on Tuesday said that since Penn made its initial decision he has seen the Cadets make several positive changes, such as appointing a new board.
"This is a very important organization in this region," he said. "Obviously we want to see them turn the ship around."
Six other corps are scheduled to perform at the June 30 show that had been scheduled for Franklin Field: Cadets 2, a sister corps of the Cadets that practices primarily on the weekends; the Bluecoats of Canton, Ohio; the Boston Crusaders; Music City of Nashville; the Raiders of Burlington, N.J.; and Spirit of Atlanta.
Rutherford said no other events have been canceled since the allegations against Hopkins came to light.