The Columbia University Marching Band (CUMB) is a group of latter-day Merry Pranksters, always up to hijinks, often with behavior so irritating to the University administration that the band isn’t allowed to perform at sports events. Read the sections on “Miscellaneous instruments” and “Controversies” on the Band’s Wikipedia page. Here’s one:
- After being allowed to play at Fordham in 2012 following their ten-year ban, the band made posters referencing the death of Christians at the hands of lions in the Bible. For this they were banned again for an unspecified period of time.
Their latest controversy is cancelling themselves. In a Facebook announcement (below), they admitted to all kinds of misdeeds and then “unanimously and enthusiastically decided to dissolve”. Read and laugh. This is, as Brian Leiter believes (I’m with him) an act of trolling—a spoof of wokeness that is so accurate that it’s taken seriously. I may, of course, be wrong, but the language is way over the top:
But, as Brian notes, the New York Times (and the Columbia University Administration) bought it—hook, line, and sinker. Here’s the article:
An excerpt. The antagonistic relationship between the band and the university administration should have alerted the Times!
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.”
The decision highlights the intense atmosphere on college campuses across the country as students scrutinize behavior and incidents that might have attracted less attention in the past. But it also touched off a backlash from alumni of the marching band, who disputed claims that it engaged in actions that were offensive to people of color or women.
In a statement, Columbia University officials said, “We 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.”
The band’s statement did not provide any details of specific episodes. Instead, it described a virtual meeting held on Saturday among more than 20 band members “to discuss numerous anonymous postings and allegations of” misconduct.
After that discussion, the band decided “unanimously and enthusiastically” to dissolve itself, the statement said.
Now this “confession” and dissolving may be real. Or, it may be bogus and leave the NYT with egg on its face, in which case they’ll have to retract their article. I hope it’s the latter, as I want to see the paper admit they were taken in but not admit that they couldn’t discern possible satire. Stay tuned.
Here’s that ragtag band of misfits: Homecoming 2014: