By Jessica Jones
Was There Dirty Dancing in Butler Last Sunday? YES
Most of the time, May at Columbia passes
predictably, beginning with Orgo Night,
continuing through the Primal Scream, and
ending with graduation. There is little to
no public nudity
This year was different.
Butler denizens enjoyed a unique study
break Sunday night at 11 p.m. when two
exotic dancers performed in the College
The man and woman entered respectively
dressed in a black dress and a police [What a fantastic and error-free sentence!]
uniform respectively, then stripped. She
eventually wore just a black bra, panties,
garters, and heels, while he was left with
a blue G-string and his nightstick.
Presumably in tribute to the senior
class, she had "98" scrawled across her
chest, one numeral on each breast.
According to "Jane Doe," an anonymous
student who helped plan the event, "they
were supposed to do the full monty but they
got a little nervous when they saw how many
people were there and they didn't have their
bodyguards with them."
Advertised through phone messages and
word-of-mouth, the event attracted over 750
people to the library, according to official
security estimates, Doe said. Students stood
on tables, clambered up bookshelves, and
climbed onto the windowsills in order to see
the performers, who danced in the middle of
Although no one will publicly claim
responsibility for the event, "John Smith,"
who knows those involved well, attributed
the prank to a group including seniors,
perhaps some juniors, "definitely Columbia
College students." He described the prank as
"a last stand before the seniors leave."
"They started working on it about a week
before it happened," he said, adding that
the event involved several logistical
"It was pretty complicated as far as
getting them into the library," Smith
explained. "I was scared that security was
going to stop it, because there were a bunch
of security guards there."
Doe confirmed that security was a major
obstacle in planning the event. "It took a
little coordination outwitting Columbia's
top-notch security force," she said.
Anyone who enters the library must show
Columbia University identification, so the
conspirators made fake identification cards
for the strippers.
Smith and Doe promised "more to come"
before the end of the school year. While
they refuse to specify their plans, Doe
advises students, "Keep your eyes peeled for
very public displays of affection for
In addition to the security problem, the
conspirators paid a considerable fee,
although Doe declined to state an amount.
According to several adult entertainment
agencies, fees for a male and female duo
range from $275 to $600.
The prospect of performing for a large
crowd in a library neither deterred the
performers nor required a special fee, Doe
"They were anxious for the business - you
know Guilliani's cracking down," she said.
Last year, another prank occurred at
Butler during finals that was hotter than
the strippers, at least in temperature.
Students set off fireworks from the roof
of Butler, attracting a crowd of spectators.
"Steve Brown," who knows the people who
organized the prank, says that the
pyrotechnics required considerable
"Basically they went to every floor in
Carman and asked everyone for a dollar. They
were planning it for months and months," he
The coordinators used these donations to
buy fireworks in New Jersey, Brown said.
"Then they just told everyone to be in
front of Butler at midnight," he explained.
The perpetrators, who were never caught,
partially inspired the recent Butler
Doe said that she and her cohorts wanted
to "defy what happened last year with the
Although fireworks and strippers involve
considerable cost and preparation, more
casual pranks often occur at Columbia.
last month, for example, members of the
Phi Gamma Delta (Fiji) fraternity allegedly
dumped paint on seven people from the Pi
Kappa Alpha (Pika) fraternity house's roof.
Fiji members deny responsibility.
While Greek organizations occasionally
play pranks, the Columbia University
Marching Band (CUMB) has raised tomfoolery
to a fine art over the last quarter-century.
The biannual "Orgo Night," which was
publicized by a suggestive dialogue with the
"Rolm Phone lady" this semester, only hints
at CUMB's pranking capabilities.
"For example, in 1962, we dressed up as
the Yale Band and woke up Princeton at 6:55
a.m.," an anonymous band member said, noting
that the New York Times covered the event.
"It worked so well that we repeated it
five years later. In 1967, Columbia played
at Harvard on the same day Brown played Yale.
We left for Harvard in the wee hours of the
morning so we would have time to stop off at
Brown at 3 a.m. and pretend to be the Yale [They got Brown and Yale backwards]
Band, and then at Yale at 6 a.m., waking up
their campus while dressed as the Brown
Band," he said.
"Another one of our greatest moments
occurred at Princeton in the mid-80's. The
Band managed to get hold of some bright
yellow plastic bags marked 'RADIOACTIVE.'
We made up tags for them that said, 'If
found, call xxx-xxxx immediately.' The phone
number was either Princeton Security or
their president or their band or something.
Then we left the bags all over their campus.
Needless to say, the telephone lines were
flooded," the anonymous band member said.
CUMB's penchant for pranks has caused [People would come up to us and say,
others to accuse them of pranks they did not "Those fireworks were GREAT!" and we'd
organize such as year's fireworks as an be like, "Yeah they were, but we
example. didn't do it," and they'd be like, "Oh,
The merry band prankster encourages i get it. Nudge nudge, wink wink."]
others to participate in Columbia's prank
"They're a great thing to do and they [Just for the record, they've got their
don't harm anyone. As long as it continues sources mixed up - we never said that]
to be that way, just keep on doing them,"