Columbia Athletics has announced that the Columbia University Marching Band will be prohibited from performing at all future athletics events. The shocking announcement came just three days before the football home opener.
CUMB has found itself in sticky turf with Columbia administrators for years. The conflict reached its climax when it resisted orders and held Orgo Night inside Butler Library in fall 2017.
In October 2018, CUMB was informed that a large portion of its budget would be cut starting this academic year. Many band members believed this be a punishment for Orgo Night.
In light of the impending loss in funding, administrators in Undergraduate Student Life advised the band to seek recognition from a student governing the board. In its statement, the University cited that the band failed to meet the established deadlines to apply for recognition.
In an email to band members regarding future steps, Danesh outlined that CUMB “will no longer exist in any official capacity” and that its board is “weighing all possible options.”
Several current band members and alumni have since lamented the loss of the band on social media, citing CUMB’s community as a source of comfort both for the Columbia community and the band itself.
CUMB social media manager, Maria Pondikos, BC ’22, said she was in her lab section when she received Danesh’s email.
“I was shocked, and as it continued to register for me, I felt continuously frustrated. And that barely covers the minimum of how I feel,” she said.
Pondikos said that being a part of the marching band was the only reason she felt comfortable playing music and that it provided her with a sense of community on campus. In addition to her board member responsibilities, she was the leader of the high brass section.
“We could always count on each other and that’s not going to end, but our capacity as a marching band is over for the near future,” she said.
Moving forward, Danesh said one option the band is considering is going to the office hours of the Activities Board at Columbia in October and petitioning to become recognized under a student governing the board.
“But the band will not disappear. We’ll still be here, just not at the football stadium. The show must go on, the band will continue to play,” Danesh said.
In place of a marching band, Athletics plans to hire community music groups to perform at home events this semester.