In light of events that have unfolded recently, we wanted to make a statement about our corporate sponsorship of The Cadets. We are encouraged to see the announcement this morning from YEA! that its board of directors has resigned, effective immediately. We felt this was a necessary step for them to begin moving their organization onto a better path for its members and staff, and we had been in communication with them over the past week about this.
DSI takes these accusations very seriously and we want to be transparent about our involvement with the drum corps, as some have questioned our continued sponsorship of The Cadets and/or YEA!. In our corporate sponsorship agreement we provide product for the performers. We do not provide any financial support for The Cadets, or for YEA!. The challenge we face is that if we dissolve our sponsorship, we only hurt the performers. However, if we continue to sponsor The Cadets, the public appearance may be that we are “doing nothing” or “remaining silent” on this topic, which is not correct.
Over the past week, DSI, along with other organizations in this activity, have been discussing policies and procedures that could be put in place to ensure that everyone (both performers and staff) remain safe, and have safe, effective methods of reporting harassment of any form. Other activities have similar procedures in place for teachers, coaches, trainers, etc. and we believe that some of those could possibly be implemented into performance arts activities.
While we’re pleased that many individual groups already appear to have harassment and reporting policies in place, we want to make sure that all do. Moving forward, DSI will request of each group and organization that we may offer a sponsorship to provide us with a copy of their harassment and reporting policies. These policies must clearly state what constitutes harassment of any form, how this information will be provided to anyone associated with their organization, how someone can report behavior they believe is harassment, and how that information will be dealt with. In the event that a group or organization would not have such a policy…DSI will not be willing to act as a sponsor to them.
DSI is very proud of our association and sponsorship of various groups, as well as several performing arts based organizations, within the activities we serve. These organizations instill positive values that can benefit participants for a lifetime. We have long believed that our purpose is not merely for profit, but to help grow and support all of these programs and organizations by “giving back”, as they can contribute enormously to the growth and maturation of the youth they serve.
It takes great courage for anyone to come forward and shine light on inappropriate behavior. Our hope is that all of us who love and serve these activities will move forward together to provide a safer environment for the talented and dedicated performers we all want to continue to support.