The Columbia University marching band, which has a decades-long tradition of irreverent and outrageous behavior on campus, is upset at the school for trying to mess with one of its most popular annual performances.
For the past four decades, members of the band have performed politically incorrect skits at the campus library for “Orgo Night,” which is held at midnight on the day of the organic chemistry final exams. During this year’s Orgo Night on Friday, band members were met by a small army of campus security guards who forced them to play on the lawn outside the library. According to College Fix, the administration posted the guards to prevent the band members from entering the library, where they usually perform.
This is the second semester in a row that the band has been banned from performing at their traditional venue following outrage from campus social justice warriors who staged a sit-in protest and wrote op-eds decrying the band’s politically incorrect skits as both “unsafe” and “triggering” to special snowflakes.
Band alumni say that Columbia University administrators provided the students with false rationale to prohibit their presence at the library and censor their performances. One of the reasons they were given was that their performance was disruptive to students studying at midnight.
However, given the yearly tradition and commonplace knowledge that it takes place at the campus library, such excuses have been dismissed by the band’s defenders.
As with their performances every year, the band took aim at the university’s faculty, students and policies with mockery and jokes. One of the topics they made fun of was the university’s narrowly defeated vote to boycott Israel.
“We at Barnumbia University of Orthodox Judaism know the only thing that can really get students riled up is Israel,” said the band during the skit, according to College Fix. “Even the most disengaged students had to stop fingering each other in the stacks long enough to show up to” a student senate hearing on the Mideast crisis.
“Let’s be frank, the [student government] is too afraid to take a stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict because they just care about getting re-elected,” they continued. “One side of this conflict is clearly in the right… and that side is… let’s all say it at the same time…”
The audience erupted in chants of either “Israel” or “Palestine,” completing the joke. That, and several other skits were performed by the band during Orgo Night.
The band has since appealed to university president Lee Bollinger, a prominent First Amendment scholar, to revoke the ban, which they argue infringes upon their right to free speech.