The 116-Year-Old Harlem-Based Columbia U. Marching Band Gets It’s Marching Orders

The Columbia University Marching Band announced Tuesday that the organization voted over the weekend to disband after 116 years of performing music and getting into controversy along the way.

The marching band held a town hall Saturday with more than 20 members taking part to discuss multiple anonymous online postings and allegations of sexual misconduct, assault, theft and racism by band members over the years.

“The Band has unanimously and enthusiastically decided to dissolve,” the band said in a statement. “The Columbia University Marching Band will not continue to exist in any capacity and will no longer serve as a Columbia spirit group.”

“The Band has maintained a club structure founded on the basis of racism, cultural oppression, misogyny, and sexual harassment,” the band added. “While substantial efforts have been made in recent years toward undoing decades of wrongdoing, we as a Band feel ultimately that is it impossible to reform an organization so grounded in prejudiced culture and traditions.”

“The current Band attempts to take responsibility both for harm directly caused by present Band members and for injuries which occurred at other times in the Band’s history.”

You can read the full statement about the Columbia University Marching Band’s choice to disband here.

The announcement to disband comes after a collection of tumultuous years.

Three days before the start of the 2019 football home opener, Columbia Athletics stripped the band of the remainder of its university funding. The decision came one year after Columbia College and the School of Engineering and Applied Science withdrew their portion of the band’s funding in response to members of the band storming a school library in their annual Orgo Night event.

On Orgo Night, band members would run into a Columbia library on the first day of finals week and play their marching songs while people tried to study.

The marching band was subsequently prohibited from performing at any official athletic events after it failed to submit its paperwork in 2019 to become a recognized group.

However, the band quickly mounted a protest and GoFundMe campaign in which it raised over $25,000 in five days, and the marching band was reinstated to perform at official athletic events.

The movement to disband the marching band came after five former and current members wrote a letter calling to disband the group, according to the Columbia Spectator.

Members of the band then released a statement September 2, 2020, saying, “The CUMB has very serious problems when it comes to racism, sexual assault, and alcohol culture.” Immediately after that first statement, multiple members of the band resigned, according to the Columbia Spectator.

Tuesday’s announcement to completely disband is the culmination of that initial call to shut up shop reports Patch.

Editors Note: We were hesitant in posting the article because there were no cases of “racism, sexual assault, and alcohol culture,” posted in the articles by Columbia Spectator or Patch. With a 116 years history, we belive there maybe issues of law and order that needs to be investigated.

About Harlem World Magazine

Harlem World Magazine is a lifestyle and brand for anyone who has a Harlem state of mind, dedicated to news, history, the renaissance and stories that celebrate our lifestyle.

Leave a Reply


Get the best updates with the Harlem World Editor's Picks.