In December 2016, the University administration informed the Marching Band leadership that the long-running Orgo Night show in the College reading room in Butler Library would be prohibited. Although “library rules” were sited as the reason, we suspect that it didn’t take the administration from 1975 to 2016 to discover that a band playing in the library at midnight was – albeit briefly – a violation. It was clear that the problem was, in fact, the occasional complaints by students who claimed to be offended by some of the Band’s jokes. So much for free expression on campus.
Despite an outcry from our alumni and others, and attempts at negotiation by the current Marching Band leadership, the administration held to its position. The story captured the imagination of campus publications and beyond, with Spec, Bwog and some outside press reporting. It was cold – very cold – but the performance went on outside the building, with hundreds in attendance. In May 2017, once again, Orgo Night: Protest Edition was forced to remain outside the library. We are working with the Band and our extensive alumni base to get Orgo Night back to Butler.
An alumnus who is not a former Band member created and distributed to University officials a series of pamphlets dissecting the Orgo Night issue. The full text can be found here. Please feel free to share the text with your Columbia alumni friends and contacts and post this content and/or the link on your social media sites so that the University administration will know that this issue will not quietly fade away. Mistakes can be fixed; we hope the administration will fix this one. Thank you for your continued support.
Orgo Night 1975, as reported by the New York Times.