THURSDAY, Aug. 17 — John T Madden, the legendary leader of the Spartan Marching Band, was forced out of all leadership positions at Michigan State University for violating the school’s sexual harassment policy over 10 years ago, a spokesman confirmed today.
“Madden was removed from all leadership positions prior to his retirement at the College of Music, including as director of the Spartan Marching Band, effective June 14, 2017,” spokesman Jody Cody said in an email. “The move came after an investigation by MSU’s Office of Institutional Equity into a complaint made in February 2017 of improper conduct occurring more than a decade ago. While MSU does not discuss specific personnel actions or investigations, the Office of Institutional Equity’s investigation found Madden did not violate the sexual harassment policy in effect at the time of the alleged conduct.
“However, the decision was made by the College of Music and Academic Human Resources that the conduct that occurred was unprofessional and not acceptable for an individual in Madden’s position. The director of the Spartan Marching Band is a unique and special role that must represent the highest university and college values. Madden remained a faculty member in the College of Music. He then chose to retire, effective Aug. 16.”
The university mentioned Madden’s retirement in a press release two months ago announcing his replacement, David Thornton. But it did not explain why. Cody’s explanation came after City Pulse asked if there was a connection between his retirement and a sexual harassment complaint Madden that the newspaper reported on Feb. 8.
The story said that in 2016 Madden made advances to a female band member, which led to an investigation by the Office of Institutional Equity and a rebuke by MSU.
The story reported that he had received an eight-day suspension and a three-month delay in his promotion to full professor as a result of then 2016 incident.
Madden, 54, worked at MSU nearly three decades. He was a 1985 graduate of the MSU School of Music who was in the marching band as a student.