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Citing 'Offensive Behavior,' Columbia Marching Band Disbands Itself

It disbands due to 'history riddled with offensive behavior'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2020 4:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – Columbia University's band has disbanded itself due to years of having "maintained a club structure founded on the basis of racism, cultural oppression, misogyny and sexual harassment," the band says in a statement announcing the move. Per the announcement, a virtual meeting was held Saturday "to discuss numerous anonymous postings and allegations of" such bad behavior as "sexual misconduct, assault, theft, racism, and injury to individuals and the Columbia community as a whole." The decision to dissolve was then made "unanimously and enthusiastically," the statement says. As the New York Times reports, the New York university band, formed in 1904, had long been known for "irreverent" performances, and the administration banned it from football games last year. It had also been stripped of university funding, per the Columbia Spectator.

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The Saturday meeting came after multiple postings on a Columbia Confessions Facebook page complained about band members engaging in lewd behavior and using a Native American war cry at games; former band members also recalled sexual harassment at band parties and sex in which band members were too drunk to consent. University officials say they "respect efforts of the band’s student leadership to address in a serious manner recent reports of offensive and unacceptable conduct entirely at odds with the values of our university," but a band alumni organization says members "categorically reject the characterization of the band’s history made by the members who voted to dissolve the group." One former drum major scoffs, "The band is gone, and if and when it returns, it will be exactly what the corporations bankrolling Ivy League sports specifically, because Ivy League sports is an essential establishment power identification and training system, want it to be." (Read more Columbia University stories.)

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