Columbia Marching Band Dissolves Itself Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Sep 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

Billing itself as “the cleverest band in the world,” the Columbia University Marching Band became infamous during its 116-year history for its penchant for pranks, irreverent performances, and colorful covers of popular songs.

The so-called “scramble band” also had a predictably antagonistic relationship with the school's administration. Still, this year performers came under fire for a different reason: In a statement on their Facebook page, the band admits they've faced numerous allegations of “sexual misconduct, assault, theft, racism, and injury to individuals and the Columbia community as a whole.”

According to anonymous reports, the complaints included band members using a Native American war cry during a performance, lewd behavior, binge drinking, sexual harassment, and non-consensual sex. In response to these allegations, the band apologized to the university and the community and dissolved itself as of mid-September.

What the Band's Decision Means for Students

The band's decision to shut itself down offers a powerful example of one appropriate response to allegations of sexual misconduct and other inappropriate behavior. As students and school organizations face heightened scrutiny for all types of misconduct, the Columbia University Marching Band could emerge as leaders in national efforts to reexamine and reform cultural institutions rooted in racism and sexism.

In a statement, Columbia University officials said, “We respect efforts of the band's student leadership to address in a serious manner recent reports of offensive and unacceptable conduct entirely at odds with the values of our university.”

While the band has indicated it will issue more thorough and specific statements regarding the allegations in the coming weeks, it is not yet clear whether any individual members will face more serious charges related to sexual misconduct.

How Sexual Misconduct Laws Have Changed

In early May, the United States Department of Education announced new rules regarding sexual misconduct in colleges and universities that require live cross-examination, alter the definition of sexual harassment, and narrow the scope of complaints that schools can consider.

According to the original text of Title IX, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” The policy did not mention sexual harassment or sexual assault.

But based on various interpretations of the law over the years, sexual misconduct in all of its forms – sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape – became considered gender-based discrimination. This required federally funded schools to investigate complaints of sexual misconduct and conduct hearings to find out whether an alleged perpetrator was guilty.

Why You Need a College Sexual Misconduct Advisor

The Department of Education requires universities to investigate all forms of sexual misconduct to ensure students can pursue an education free of discrimination. In many sexual misconduct cases, Title IX will no longer apply, but students still need a lawyer to protect their rights.

If you attend a college or university and have been accused of sexual misconduct, contact skilled sexual misconduct advisor and legal professional Joseph D. Lento today for assistance by calling 888-535-3686.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Attorney Lento and his team represent students and others in disciplinary cases and various other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Attorney Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he and his team have sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address any school-related issue or concern anywhere in the United States.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us Today!


If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.