Spirit crew strives to maintain secrecy

William Channell and William Channell

When University alumnus and former SICSIC member Brady Bourquin was performing with his beat-boxing band Beat-a-Copia on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, he almost blew his cover.

“I let slip with my secret voice used only during SICSIC times,” Bourquin said in an email. “When the show aired and people on campus were made aware of it [through] the wonder of cable television in each dorm room, there arose a conversation about whether or not the Brady Bourquin of Beat-a-Copia was actually the SICSIC member called Pavoratti.”

Bourquin wasn’t sure what to do, so he had to think quickly.

“I became very concerned about how I would keep people off of my tracks,” Bourquin said. “So I did the one thing I could think of and [quit] the beat box band.”

What makes this story exemplify SICSIC isn’t how unusual it is, but how, as Bourquin made clear later in the email, it’s entirely false.

“While this story is a stretch on the truth, I would like to abstain from answering this question as my answer may work to the disadvantage of future SICSIC members and their work to keep their identity a secret,” Bourquin said.

SICSIC is the official spirit crew of the University, and much of what they do is to prevent students from discovering their identities.

Senior Jamal Jackson enjoys this air of mystery and said it adds to their fun image.

“I think they’re fun,” Jackson said. “You see them and they’re always having a good time. They have a certain aura about them.”

While some might view SICSIC’s “aura” as calculated and trained, Michael Ginsburg, assistant dean of students and faculty adviser for SICSIC, said much of a member’s training is on-the-job.

“We do meet in the summer time,” Ginsburg said. “We will initially say things like, ‘if you are going up to somebody and you recognize that they are completely scared of you, don’t engage with that person. Not everybody likes people in masks and costumes. Apart from that, try to keep it in good taste.’”

Ginsburg said the organization has had problems before with members being revealed, but it’s not as bad as it used to be.

“People tried to rip their masks off and that kind of thing,” Ginsburg said. “Back in the 50s and 60s, people used to chase them around campus to try to figure out who they were. Fortunately, that does not seem to happen anymore.”

Ginsburg said in the event of an unmasking today, the consequences would be significant.

“They’d be removed and we’d replace them [with] somebody from the same class,” he said.

Ginsburg said SICSIC would then pull from a pool of people who had been interested during their year of eligibility, but didn’t make the cut. Secrecy, though, isn’t all SICSIC’s about.

“They have a meaning,” he said. “They’re there to spread spirit and make people feel good about themselves.”