Friday, November 18, 2011

Band is Back

The Columbia Spectator is reporting that the athletic department has relented and will let the CU Marching band perform at the game against Brown tomorrow.

Based on this announcement fromt the department, I don't think it's a leap to guess that President Lee Bollinger had a lot to do with the latest reversal:

“We have reconsidered our decision regarding the he Columbia Band’s performance at this Saturday’s last game at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium at
 the football game between Columbia and Brown University on Saturday,
 November 19,” said M. Dianne Murphy, Director, Intercollegiate
 and Physical Education. “We are proud of our talented and dedicated
 student-athletes—but as we have discussed this issue over the past day, we come to the conclusion that the core free speech values of the
 University are best served by providing a forum both for
 speech that might sometimes offend—as well as for the kind of open
 discussion that ultimately leads to greater understanding and
 collegiality among all members of our community.”

Remember, Bollinger's great claim to fame is championing free speech.


At Fri Nov 18, 06:59:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cowards! It doesn't matter if you agree, or disagree, with what the band said, or did. The fact that the administration was unable to take a firm stance is alarming! If Diane has no backbone here, we might actually keep Norries. What a joke!

At Fri Nov 18, 07:19:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

More evidence that Bollinger is a politically correct airhead. Dianne should have resigned over this affront to our players.

At Fri Nov 18, 07:49:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So here is what those idiots on the band have done: there is a big story in today's NYTimes which brings to the forefront our football ineptitude and worse, the low regard on campus for our football program. A comedy of errors, magnified a thousand fold. And this is where our scholarship money is going?

At Fri Nov 18, 08:15:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Columbia's reversal politically correct nonsense. Columbia is not a governmental unit and the First Amendment does not apply to it. Columbia's values can include free expression as well as benign rules of decorum. The band, as a band, sits at the stadium as a school activity and by privilege, not of right. If it uses that privilege to insult and make fun of hardworking classmates -- rather than add to school spirit and support for the team which is one principal reason it is there in the first place-- it is no violation of some greater good to teach band members a lesson in respect and support for their classmates when they abuse their privilege.

At Fri Nov 18, 08:19:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Dianne. It took courage to do the right thing which is to let the band play on. The band members have had the chance to reflect upon the wisdom of their actions, and will be the better for it. That's what makes Columbia, Columbia. And besides, without "Roar Lion Roar" we're really in trouble. As the football team improves. the band will have their back, not to worry.

At Fri Nov 18, 08:28:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wait for this nightmare of a season to be over, and for a clean sweep of this staff. My only concern right now is for our players, to whom I wish the very best of luck in seeking a win tomorrow. I'll try very hard to be there, as I'm sure will others.

At Fri Nov 18, 08:30:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 5:15am.......last I checked, the Bill of Rights applies to all Americans, not just government institutions. Your position is a bit extreme.

I don't agree with the Band making fun of the football program, but we should remember that they generally do show up to support our team. I saw a full band contingent at the Dartmouth game. They at least make that level of commitment to travel to games, etc.

Maybe they will learn from this

Chen 82

At Fri Nov 18, 08:47:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Truly there must have been an easier way to handle this situation. Maybe a simple apology by the band to the players, alumni and families would have been enough. A public apology. I don't love the band but I welcome some sort of music at the games, and although I don't know if I'd call the band "fans", at least they show up, and with a school like CU, that matters A LOT! Let's fix the football and then none of this will matter. People will come to the games and the cheering will be louder than the band. What matters right now is the state of CU football. Change better be TWO days away!

At Fri Nov 18, 09:16:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, what an administrative screw up at the top on this band thing. I was at the Cornell game and heard the bands little cheer and really didn't even think much of it. I thought that it was only a few of the members participated but I could be wrong. It was not a big deal. I think that more people were offended by the parody of the national anthem.

In the end the administration has taken something relatively benign, perhaps a few dozen people heard their chant, and made it in to a national story. No one on this site was even talking about the band after the game and I'm guessing about 90% of the Columbia fans that were at that game read it (there were only about as many Light Blue fans as players)! In the end all the administration has done is empower the band going forward. What happens if the band this week goes off and insults blacks, gays, and Jewish people? According to the most recent statement that would be acceptble. They have set a precedent that free speech is the most important attribute - consequences of your right to free speech be damned. The band can now do as it pleases and the University will bear the blowback. The band, like all student groups, should be representative of the University. According to the latest statement, apparently the band is representing the University correctly.

Finally, I can't imagine internally how this new statement went over. Someone is going to resign for being overruled so publicly.

At Fri Nov 18, 09:22:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger cathar said...

We are in deep doo-doo indeed if we have become occasion for mockery by the likes of Rosanna Scotto on Fox 5 News this morning, as has been going on for the last few hours as I type this.

Truly, this season seems one from hell.

At Fri Nov 18, 09:43:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Inwood Tiger said...

Normally on this blog I'm just a chipper fan on the sidelines since I am not a former athlete nor a Columbia grad. But finally Jake has covered a topic that I can lend some gravitas, since I used to run the Princeton Band and spent 4 years visiting every campus in the league with that merry band of orange-plaid troubadours.

Look, it's not all that fun being in a band in the Ivy League. You are not recruited, given admissions consideration, or the star on the field. You are just a student who has a bit more of a school-spirit/musical bug than others and enjoys supporting the teams and playing at school events. However, that means giving up your Saturdays (when other students sleep/work/recreate) to sit in half-empty and not always dry stadiums to watch your school probably lose to Sacred Heart or Fordham. Sure, it's fun to beat that rival school every now and then and the alumni at the tailgates are always appreciative, but those moments are few and far between. Meanwhile, children at other schools (rhymes with "Zenn") will throw things at you, students will yell at you for waking them up at 11 am, and you probably won't be able to eat anything other than an overpriced hot dog.

No one will thank you after the game, you'll just pack up your instrument and slog home exhausted (and possibly wet) to recover what is left of your Saturday. Or, if it's a road game, you'll get on the uncomfortable bus for that freaking 8 hour trip back from Hanover (because Ivy bands attend ALL away games). While studying for an Ivy League midterm.

Now, it would be nice if all schools had 250 person bands with paid directors and academic music credit and flag girls and such, but Ivy League schools are small (except Cornell), have no funding whatsoever for bands (which are just student groups, like the chess club) and the phys ed requirements (which band membership used to satisfy) was dropped long ago.

Given all of that, the bands are naturally small. Not nonexistent, as at some Patriot League schools, but small. So the bigger bands might hit 60-80 or so on game day (Harvard, Penn, Yale) and the smaller ones more like 40-60 (Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth, Princeton). Decades ago that led to a change in format to scramble instead of marching, and the humor as a product of the same forces that created, say, the Harvard Lampoon.

As far as humor goes, Princeton Brown and Columbia tend to be on the more tacky end of things, and yes, Columbia is the worst offender. It's a hard culture to change, and the censoring of the scripts only encourages more "let's sneak this in" behavior. But it's a trade-off I long ago accepted in exchange for the bands still existing, coming to games, and being the only students who can actually sing the lyrics to the rich history of Ivy school songs.

Yes, the CUMB obviously was a bit mean in mocking the school's record, but you have to realize that they love the teams they support and were only making fun of themselves or the admin, not the players. It should not be construed as an attack - it's a tasteless joke, like much of what they do to keep spirits up. (And I'm not even going to talk about the songs the Princeton Band knows, which are rather louche and make fun of every school in the league. But those are for private settings and not public use).

Columbia erred in turning this into a big deal and now they are reaping the bad PR. If they support the band more than attack it (electronic music when the band is playing? Really?), it will be a better outcome for all.

At Fri Nov 18, 09:51:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm all for free speech. I have been wanting to tell the band how bad they suck for 6 years and now will feel free to express myself.

At Fri Nov 18, 10:04:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Inwood Tiger said...

And by the way, I left out of my long-winded post the important point that what the CUMB did in singing those lyrics in public and worse, near the team, was wrong and they should apologize, which they have done. But I understand the frustration of the band members, the frustration of everyone else with the why-are-they-so-bad band, and condemn the overreaction by the admin (which has only made things worse).

At Fri Nov 18, 10:08:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too often, people confuse the right to do something, with the wisdom of choosing to do it.

Bands should know when to show some self-restraint. Those are fellow students you are mocking. Just because you convince yourselves you are acting with good motives doesn't mean you are freed of responsibility for considering the effect on others. If I use a racially insensitive or derogatory term out of "affection," does that make it OK?

You can have fun and be irreverent (if you are truly smart about it), but you can't try to avoid the consequences, like criticism for being thoughtless or lazy in your approach.

At Fri Nov 18, 10:27:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had the band sang something disparaging about Bollinger or Murphy, would they be back on the field this week? Columbia STUDENTS, who comprise the band, have made Columbia, the school, front page fodder and given the school a black eye. Except for the national anthem, and Roar Lions Roar, we should turn our backs to the field when the band is on the field. They do not deserve our support.

At Fri Nov 18, 10:27:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there anyone who doesn't cringe when the CUMB takes the field at halftime? Does anyone actually enjoy their squalid nonsense?

At Fri Nov 18, 10:35:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leave it to a group so inconsequential to Columbia to make this game about them rather than the senior class of football players. Seniors, we appreciate how you have represented us win or lose; we appreciate the countless hours you have spent on football because you love the game; and we appreciate that you are soon to become an alum of one of the greatest schools in the world. Godspeed to each and every one of you. Your futures are bright. We will not forget you.

At Fri Nov 18, 10:49:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could not make this stuff up!
First it was "Parka-gate", then it was "Band-aid". What is next,
Go to the game and thank the seniors. See you there.

At Fri Nov 18, 10:56:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Peter Stevens '70C 73L said...

The silver lining to this very public humilation is that it will force Bolinger to confront the cmess and take action.

To win tomorrow the players need to igonre the coaches. On defense they must blitz relentlessly and the CBs need to play the WRs tight. On offense, Brackett-if healthy- needs to run 20 times or more and throw the other 50x--and he needs to do it out of the pocket too-- where he has gotten killed all year.

And if there are any students who read this blog, it would be wonderful if you kids could get to the game and support your classmates. They give so much to CU and could use some love and support.

Go Lions

At Fri Nov 18, 11:02:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Bill Flick '87 said...

Does anyone believe Diane made this call? I would guess that this lack of support from the President of the school is the type of stuff that makes an AD apply for the Army job.

At Sat Nov 19, 01:02:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Band Alum said...

Best statement ever, from a Columbia football TEAM alum:

"As an ex Columbia football player I learned some things quickly, we are probably going to lose, students don't care either way, the band is hilarious, fun and talented and should be left alone. The fact that we even have a football team, a beautiful stadium in manhattan on the water, and the best mascot ever, a lion, makes us winners, win or lose."


At Sat Nov 19, 01:20:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've always wondered why so many schools have a tiger as their mascot (possibly the most popular mascot of all) while so few have a lion as theirs, when obviously the two felines are so similar.

At Sat Nov 19, 02:08:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's be honest. The 0-9 team is a much bigger disgrace than the band.

At Sat Nov 19, 03:23:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kudos to the Princeton Tiger who put this in perspective.

At Sat Nov 19, 03:27:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think some of you are exaggerating the harm that this publicity about the band has gotten for the College.

Some people may read about this and say, "Finally, here is a college where football is as unimportant as that! That's where I want to attend."

In fact, that was me when I chose Columbia....


At Mon Nov 21, 09:36:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger JJ said...

@ Anonymous...the band, as a band, sits at the stadium as a school activity and by privilege, not of right.

Bzzzzzt! WRONG. The CUMB is not funded by the university (take a look at their outfits) and hence it is not a school activity.

I find the band to be hilarious. You don't want to be made fun of?... simple solution: WIN

At Mon Nov 21, 09:39:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger JJ said...

@Anonymous "Some people may read about this and say, "Finally, here is a college where football is as unimportant as that! That's where I want to attend."
In fact, that was me when I chose Columbia...."

Wow... you may want to go back to 1004 Logic & Rhetoric. The irony is strong in this one.


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