Columbia Daily Spectator Sept. 25 2002
by Katherine Isokawa, Katie Goldstein, and Jessica Gresko Marching Band Says It Will Not Apologize Though the presidents of Columbia University and Fordham University appear to have made their peace after allegations of Catholic-bashing by the Columbia University Marching Band during Saturday's Liberty Cup, the band remains unapologetic. Columbia public affairs officer Lauren Marshall said President Lee C. Bollinger held a "friendly conversation" with Fordham President Rev. Joseph A. O'Hare yesterday, and today's edition of The New York Times is reporting that Bollinger has formally apologized to O'Hare. But similar sentiments were not forthcoming from the Marching Band. "No one's getting an apology from me or the band," Marching Band Poet Laureate Andy Hao, CC '05, said. Hao's halftime reference over the Lawrence A. Wien Stadium loudspeakers to "Fordham tuition going down like an altar boy," angered many members of the New York City Jesuit school's community. The New York Times reported yesterday that Fordham senior Elizabeth Kennedy had collected 120 signatures on a petition demanding an apology from Bollinger. In a statement released Monday, William Donohue, president of the Catholic League, which claims to be the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization, called for Columbia to apologize to Fordham and local Catholics. Donohue wrote that the Columbia crowd's reaction was even more disturbing than the actual comment. "What this shows is that all the campus talk about multiculturalism, diversity, inclusion, and tolerance means very little when applied to Catholics: indeed, it is politically correct to bash Catholics. And not just at Bob Jones University," he wrote. Marshall stressed that the comment was not made by a University announcer but by a member of the band. "The remark made was insensitive and inappropriate, and the University is sorry for any pain it caused," she said. Marching Band manager Tom Berman, CC '04, said that the band regrets that people were offended but would stand by its script. The comment "got blown out of proportion," he said. "I feel sorry people were offended," Berman said. "The show was meant to entertain."