The Columbia University Marching Band announced Saturday it would dissolve due to intrinsic, irreparable damage caused by the club’s structure, which was “founded on the basis of racism” and “cultural oppression.”
Following a Sept. 12 meeting to discuss anonymous postings that alleged the band’s involvement in sexual misconduct, assault and racism, among other things, the band “unanimously and enthusiastically decided to dissolve” after 116 years of performance, according to the band’s statement Monday.
“The Columbia University Marching Band apologizes for insult and injury victims have experienced as a result of actions perpetrated in its name,” the statement continues. “The Band has maintained a club structure founded on the basis of racism, cultural oppression, misogyny, and sexual harassment.”
Despite reform efforts, the band found it “impossible to reform an organization so grounded in prejudiced culture and traditions.” (RELATED: University Of Chicago’s English Department Says It Will Only Accept Applicants Who Will Work In Black Studies)
“The current Band hopes that the Band’s dissolution will provide relief to the present suffering of the Columbia community and time to heal from the decades of harm caused by this organization. We also hope that the CUMB’s disbandment can create a space that allows for the formation of a new spirit group that will provide a safe and inclusive outlet for students to play music at Columbia.”
Roughly two weeks prior, the band issued another statement addressing posts in the “Columbia Confessions” Facebook page, where students can anonymously share campus experiences. The band’s Sept. 3 statement alludes to allegations made on the forum against band members, some who had already graduated.
“The band has a disturbing lack of inclusivity and respect for people and their property,” the statement says. “The Band has no tolerance for racism, sexual assault, homophobic, transphobia, sexism, bullying, personal theft, and other forms of abuse,” it goes on.
The earlier statement was followed by the resignations of multiple band leaders and repeated calls to dissolve the organization, according to the Columbia Spectator.
The band was in limbo with the University’s athletics department, which stripped it of its university funding in 2019, and a year prior, Columbia College and and the School of Engineering and Applied Science also withdrew their funding from the band after it stormed a campus library in 2017.
After failing to submit paperwork required to become a recognized campus group, it was financially cut from the University. Following a reprieve between the athletic department and the band in October 2019, it is now unclear whether the band will lose its funding, the Spectator reported.
The band did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.