Columbia Marching Band Will Not March On

About a year ago, we reported that the Columbia University Marching Band, which was eliminated by the school administration, had been reinstated to perform at football games. At the time, we — and others — didn’t know exactly why the marching band was eliminated. All we knew was that the administration wished to have greater control of the band since the band’s tactics aren’t always — or often — appreciated by the administration. As we imagined it, school administrators were tired of receiving complaints from students pulling all-nighters in the library that the band, which often burst into the library unannounced, were disrupting their work. Well, as it turns out, it seems the Columbia University administration had good reason to want to shut down its marching band — and it wasn’t about disturbing students in the library. In fact, a recent New York Times piece which focuses on the group’s decision to disband, highlights a history of offensive behavior by members of the band.

New Revelations Bring to Light a Terrible History

As Corey Kilgannon reports for The New York Times in a piece entitled “Columbia Marching Band Shuts Itself Down Over ‘Offensive Behavior’,” “The band had an antagonistic relationship with the administration, which banned it from football games last year and tried to stamp out its mischievous tradition of bursting into a campus library each semester to entertain stressed-out students on the eve of finals. But the latest news from the band was more startling. Its board announced on Monday that after 116 years of performing it was disbanding, citing ‘a history riddled with offensive behavior.’ The behavior did not pertain to its ongoing lampooning of university policies and officials but more serious self-levied charges — posted in a statement on the band’s Facebook page — that the band had long been rife with ‘sexual misconduct, assault, theft, racism and injury to individuals and the Columbia community as a whole.'”

We Support the Dissolution of the Columbia Marching Band

In light of these revelations, we absolutely support the decision of the Columbia University Marching Band’s board to disband the band. Sexual misconduct, assault, theft, racism, and injury to individuals have no place in a university marching band — much less at a university — and the band, in spite of its history that dates back over a century, had to be dissolved at once. “The Cleverest Band in the World,” as it was known, wasn’t so clever after all. Shame on the members of the Columbia University Marching Band who contributed to this egregious history. And here we thought you just disrupted studious students in the library with your horns and drums. We guess it was a case of wishful thinking.

 
 

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