Columbia University Bans Marching Band from All Athletic Events

  Last modified on November 27th, 2019

Columbia University recently banned their marching band from perform at all athletic events. I know what you’re (not) thinking: marching bands, with their weirdly shaped instruments and perfectly in-sync tunes, are true threats to student life and must be stopped at once. Argh!

The Columbia University Marching Band, or CUMB, is quite the audacious bunch. Although they’ve been successfully entertaining students, alumni, and fans at football games since the 1950s, they’ve been at odds with Columbia administrators for years.


Here’s a quick hitlist of some of the controversial, and frankly hilarious, things CUMB has done:

  • In 1973, they were involved in a well-publicized brawl with the Harvard marching band. If only smartphones existed then…
  • They make phallic-shaped marching formations and sometimes cheer the opposite team at games.
  • They’ve used non-traditional instruments known as ‘miscies’ that include a toilet seat, empty buckets, and wet floor caution signs.
  • They played CeeLo Green’s “F**ck You” outside Trump Tower in 2016.

Despite all of this, their “orgo night” tradition is what really caused tensions to rise with administrators. In the 1970s, CUMB started a tradition to play outside Butler Library at midnight on the eve of the Organic Chemistry final. In 2015, some serious chemistry nerds complained to the administration and shut down the 35-year tradition. However, the rebellious band still sneaked into Butler Library and reinstated the “orgo night” tradition last year.

This act resulted in the university cutting $15,000 of the marching band’s funding for the 2019-2020 academic year and were demanded they register as a student group in order to get more funding, instead of relying on the Athletic Department. Apparently, CUMB missed the deadline to apply and, consequently, was banned from all future athletic events. Here’s the official statement they released.

To add salt to the wound, they were replaced at the football season’s first home game this weekend by a high school band from Staten Island. Ouch!

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Featured images c/o Kenneth C. Zirkel

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