Arts and Entertainment | Miscellaneous

Bacchanal fall concert canceled, annual spring concert under review

  • Kiera Wood / Senior Staff Photographer
    bacchanope | Lupe Fiasco performs at Bacchanal in April.

Updated Aug. 13, 1:20 p.m.

Bacchanal’s planned fall concert has been canceled and its spring concert is under review, the group announced in a statement Monday evening.

The fall concert, planned for Sept. 14 on Low Plaza, was canceled after several meetings with administrators, despite booking three acts to perform by July 8. The cancellation will cost the committee $55,000.

“We are extremely disappointed by the sudden cancellation of the show, for which we’d been approved for months,” Ben Kornick, CC ’15 and Bacchanal co-president, told Spectator. “And we hope that the administration will meet directly with Bacchanal members as the fall approaches in order to give students the opportunity to alleviate any concerns the administration may have about the spring.”

According to the statement, Kornick was called to a meeting on July 28 with advisers from the Office of Student Engagement and Interim Dean of Student Life Todd Smith-Bergollo, who explained the concert would be canceled based on concerns about drinking and sexual harassment. Smith-Bergollo declined to comment for this story. 

The Bacchanal committee, along with the executive boards of Columbia College Student Council, the Engineering Student Council, General Studies Student Council, and Banard’s Student Government Association drafted a letter on July 30 to the undergraduate deans detailing their concerns.

Among the points made in the letter were issues with “the fact that this decision was made without any consultation with students, after approval had been given for months, and after artists had been confirmed, meaning that, in line with standard industry practice, the Bacchanal Committee would still be obligated to pay $55,000 of undergraduate student life fees to the artists whether or not they performed.”

[Related op-ed: An open letter to the administration about Bacchanal]

Over the course of the next week, Bacchanal suggested changes to the event, such as bystander intervention training for sexual harassment and barring graduate students—who accounted for six of the 13 CU-EMS transports at last spring’s Bacchanal—from attending, in an attempt to salvage the event and save the money.

On Aug. 8, the four undergraduate deans, citing the same concerns as before, told Bacchanal members that the event was canceled, and that the deans would cover the cost of canceling the artists’ contracts.

A University statement released Wednesday said the decision to cancel the concert was not related to the issue of sexual assault on campus.

“While the spring Bacchanal concert is a tradition on the Columbia campus, there has never been a Bacchanal event of this scale in the fall, and this concert was never officially scheduled or approved,” the statement said. “The undergraduate deans decided, as their prerogative, based on a history of concerns about safety, crowd control and inappropriate behavior during the spring concert, that student organizers should not move forward with a similar concert during the second week of the fall semester, when students are still settling into their coursework, which, of course, is the primary reason that they are at Columbia.”

As the New York Times noted Tuesday, Columbia’s statement did not address whether administrators brought up concerns about sexual assault at their July 28 meeting.

Beyond Bacchanal

Still, students say they were told the issue of sexual assault was a factor. Members of the Coalition Against Sexual Violence—who were informed by council representatives when the cancellation was finalized—see administrator’s actions as misguided. The group released a statement Monday night expressing its disagreement with the cancellation.

The statement emphasized that sexual assault and harassment takes place throughout the year, not only during Bacchanal, and said that canceling the concert “not only distracts from the real causes of sexual violence, it prevents us from taking valuable steps that may actually combat sexual violence.”

“This is obviously really frustrating because it feels as though it’s just yet another case of the administration not listening to what student activists are actually asking for when it comes to ending sexual violence on campus and changing policies to be supportive of survivors on campus,” Caitlin Lowell, CC ’15 and CASV’s resources and outreach coordinator, said. “There are so many options and other ways that it’s possible to make Bacchanal safer. … Just canceling this one visible thing doesn’t do anything to change the culture or to make things safer for anyone.”

A statement from the activist group No Red Tape expressed similar concerns.

“The reason that sexual assault has been an issue at Bacchanal is not because of Bacchanal itself,” the statement said. “It is because of rape culture. Without Bacchanal, there will still be assaults and there will still be violence on campus. It will simply be less visible.”

A lack of communication

For student representatives like Tony Lee, CC ’15 and president of the Activities Board at Columbia, the cancellation is part of a continuing trend of administrators not communicating sufficiently with students.

He cites this incident along with the repurposing of popular student meeting spaces in Lerner Hall to make room for the Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center. Before this summer, he said, administrators he worked with were always in communication.

“The last two incidents that happened—with Bacchanal, with the space issues—it’s the fact that people usually reach out to me … that makes it so shocking,” Lee said. “On all levels—and you can see by talking to people—it’s not the right decision, and I guess from my perspective … student groups play such a huge role on campus and Bacchanal is a tragic example, but it’s just a general mindset of administrators not communicating enough with student groups.”

What Lee mentioned is at the heart of the Bacchanal committee’s concerns over the cancellation.

“Had the deans raised their concerns … earlier in the process, we could have worked together to find solutions to all concerns,” the committee’s statement said. “Instead, approval was granted and then revoked, without consultation with any students involved.”

For Lee, another issue is seeing organizers’ efforts ended abruptly.

“Seeing instances like this, seeing the hard work that students put in to benefit the community just go to waste or be subject to such arbitrary interference … that’s really disturbing to me,” he said.

Requests for comment from Columbia College Dean James Valentini, School of Engineering and Applied Science Dean Mary Boyce, School of General Studies Dean Peter Awn, and Barnard College Dean Avis Hinkson have not been returned. 

david.salazar@columbiaspectator.com@davidj_salazar

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Anonymous posted on

if bacchanal is cancelled the terrorists win

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Anonymous posted on

to punish students they should just bring lupe back

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Anonymous posted on

Have every student at Columbia continuously email all 4 undergraduate deans, student life deans, and other administrators every few hours with an email. We have to show them that thousands of students care.

Here are their emails:

Barnard President - Debora Spar: dspar@barnard.edu
Columbia President - Lee Bollinger: bollinger@columbia.edu
Columbia Provost John Coatsworth: jhc2125@columbia.edu

Barnard Dean - Avis Hinkson: ahinkson@barnard.edu
CC Dean - James Valentini: jjv1@columbia.edu
SEAS Dean - Mary Boyce: boyce@columbia.edu
GS Dean - Peter Awn: pja3@columbia.edu

Barnard Dean of Studies: nfriedman@barnard.edu
CC/SEAS Dean of Students: NONE (currently)
GS Dean of Students: gsdeanofstudents@columbia.edu

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Cindy Burbank posted on

Y'all are letting kids plan parties just to cancel em? I may not be the coolest cat on the corner but like I always say to my niece Denise: "You can't bake the biscuit if you ain't gonna spend the money on the flour!"

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Andy Dick posted on

YES YES YESSS

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Anonymous posted on

Clearly, legal council is running the show. Litigious fear perverts the decision-making process and corrodes community. Dialogue with the students would probably prove more cost-effective in the long-run.

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Anonymous posted on

Perhaps. But it is amply clear that Bolly does not run the show, does not want to, and is not capable. Yet, legal council hides behind him. Get rid of them, hook, line, and sinker.

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Anonymous posted on

Correct. Self-absorbed, disengaged. Elitist. Absent. That's your president. Third highest paid in the country. The question is, which of his chorines did he empower to manipulate this process?

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sandy senior posted on

I haven't really been following this because I don't care and I didn't even know we had a fall concert. My biggest concern was the loss of money from the student life fees, but I am happy to know that the deans are covering the deposits so we don't have to eat the cost.

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Anonymous posted on

Our student life fees stay intact, but the deans still burned $55k of university money that could've been spent on improving the school. It's just being subtracted from their accounts.

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Anonymous posted on

Inside scoop says they cancelled it because they expect grim mood and low participation throughout campus, as it will be obvious by that time that the Columbia football team is set for a repeat performance. As for that thing about rape (or sexual harassment as their euphemism), they are just saying that only to take any faint opportunity to cover their asses. Bottom line: another 0-10 season and more campus rapes on the way, and Bolly & Co do not care.

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This is stupid posted on

"As for that thing about rape (or sexual harassment as their euphemism), they are just saying that only to take any faint opportunity to cover their asses. Bottom line: another 0-10 season and more campus rapes on the way, and Bolly & Co do not care."

Of course they care. Who do you think they are? Criminals? But they know from handling many cases that there are victims on both sides - men and women. Bowing under the pressure from women's rights activists, they kicked off campus some students who were innocent, and who never had a chance at their kangaroo "court"- the university's sexual assault panel never used the evidence the accused presented. The accusers were immediately called "survivors", based on their word alone. Now, there is a mounting pressure that they protect innocent men wrongfully accused of sexual assault. (I know, some of you will say - there are no innocent men!). The bottom line is- colleges shouldn't be dealing with such serious issues. Period.

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Anonymous posted on

All they must do are the right things, to stand by them, and to explain. Instead, all they do is to protect their gravy trains called Columbia jobs. They are stupid and spineless. As for you...given that you want to protect Bolly & Co, I am sure that they will not try to stop you. I hope that you get a medal for this. And oh by the way, ask your mother what happened when she visited her college sophomore friend. She will be disappointed that you are taking this kind of stand.

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Anonymous posted on

If you read carefully what I wrote, you will see that I did not want to defend Bollinger but to make a point about the phony "rape culture" hysteria that is causing all this. I do agree that Bollinger and the rest have not handled any of it correctly. To the contrary. But I can't say that they don't care simply because I cannot believe that people in their position care only about their salaries. But I may be naive

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Anonymous posted on

It is not phony. And you are right: you are naive.

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Anonymous posted on

"If you break your wrist, amputate your arm! You will find that you no longer have a broken wrist."

This is the logic being used by the Columbia deans. Instead of ice buckets to raise awareness, Valentini would have us kill every ALS patient to reduce the number of cases to 0.

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Anonymous posted on

fucking geeds

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Anonymous posted on

such jabronis

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Anonymous posted on

by that same logic they should also cancel the football games and while they're at it, any sporting event really

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Disappointed posted on

Maybe just the football games. I have nothing against the rest of the athletic program. But that's another matter I'm afraid we'll be discussing by October...

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Anonymous posted on

These are great concerts that unite the entire undergraduate community.

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Anonymous posted on

Wanna know why alumni don't give to the undergraduate schools (myself included)? Because the administration has been raging a war on fun ever since I first stepped on campus in the mid 1990s. Shame on you administration.

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Anonymous posted on

Wrong. The concerts are really at the surface. We are united more by our shared stupidity, shared self entitlement, and shared incompetent university president and deans.

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Anonymous posted on

Sorry guys, you can't have your cake and eat it too. When you decide to put red duct tape all over your graduation caps and make a big enough stink that Columbia's name gets printed in national newspapers because some of you think that school deans need to be investigating rapes (this is the police department's job), this is what happens. In short, deans are tired of dealing with sexual assault, so any event that could contribute to this is going to get canceled.

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Anonymous posted on

That sums it up. Columbia turds and their adults communicate with each other through red duct tapes. Is anybody surprised? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

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Anonymous posted on

You are exactly correct. Because a handful of students made a big stink about this and went on national TV, this is what happens. Every event will now be scrutinized. The students demanded something to be done, and they got it. Where is the surprise? This is not limited to Columbia. Most schools will be doing this.

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Anonymous posted on

Aren't we congratulating ourselves way too soon? We haven't done diddly squat, except raped people. Some unnamed people got quoted on Spec about thinking about doing something. My...what standards of behavior and action!

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Anonymous posted on

If you are unhappy please transfer. These anti-Columbia comments and posts are a shame. I am PROUD to attend Columbia University and although this incident stinks, I would not want to be at any other school.

For once Columbians, can we stop complaining about seemingly petty issues compared to REAL WORLD issues and realize that we are able to attend an elite institution? We are not a state school. We are Columbia University in the City of New York.

Do we really think it is wise to have a drunken fest the 2nd week we get to school? Maybe if it was near fall break but the second week? Think of freshman just moving in or first generation college students navigating their way through the first weeks of college.

Yes, it was wrong of the administration and very poor communication. But, I really think we need to stop complaining and airing every detail to the NYT and instead respectively address the issue to the administration in a calm and responsible manner (not with demands and aggressive language).

I plan on donating millions to Columbia because I really have grown as a person. As a member of both greek life and student government and student of color, I feel a sense of community and purpose and very disappointed at the anti-Columbia comments I see. Students DREAM of attending a school of this caliber and it seems as a student body we are constantly criticizes and tearing down this school.

I am starting a new trend.

#IAmProudToAttendColumbia because I have been able to truly grow as an individual and find my passions in life. Sure, the administrations has it's hiccups (Like ALL universities) but I am more than proud to attend this wonderful school.

Let's focus on the larger picture and appreciate how Blessed we are to be here

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Anonymous posted on

Wow, an elite university full of self-entitled turds and incompetent, hamstrung administration. You must have gotten a real elite education out of it. There is no possibility whatsoever that it is all just in your mind.

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Malyssa Bradshaw posted on

I'm gonna say what everyone else is thinking: how about you just sit on your own goddamn face? #SorryButImNeverSorry.

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Anonymous posted on

Not necessary. Bollinger is already sitting on his face. You see...he plays a role in Bollinger's zombie herd, in this movie about Columbia. Oh...I have news. You are sitting on Bollinger's face. I thought I would point this out because you and I know that your reflexes are slow. A few people like you are known to be orphaned, and they have carried venereal diseases from birth. But then fortunately they got adopted by rich families who raised them to be self-entitled Columbian turds.

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Anonymous posted on

Oh my god that is awesome. And so true.

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You can thank posted on

your Red Tape and those who are spreading the rape culture hysteria. This way no one will be touched, looked at, challenged. Thank you all! Of course CU had to cancel the concert - 29 students sued Columbia for their handling of sexual assault cases (plus the lawsuits by those who were wrongfully accused, and for the lack of due process), and now you think they're going to open themselves up for more accusations by the same and some new "activists"? We're not about individual responsibility now . Now we're into group think, thriving on mass hysteria and the atmosphere of the intellectually dormant. It's black and white now, and if you do not agree, you can be sued or accused that you are pro rape....Days of freedom on campus are over. Everything will be scrutinized for political correctness. I am so sick of this.

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Anonymous posted on

You are funny. Columbia has done the wrong things for years. All you need to do is to read. But nah nobody cares. Cancel the concerts and everybody is up in arms. I think that you now understand what all this means (even though you are as dumb as a Columbia student). You guys a just a bunch of self-entitled, selfish, hedonistic, up-to-no-good shit. When you grow old you become an old useless turd just like Bollinger.

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anonymous posted on

the language you use speaks volume about you

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Anonymous posted on

You are absolutely right. You and I should just dial down the words, shut up, and rape lots of people just like the rest of them. Isn't Bollinger a good boy? He really knows to shut up, doesn't he?

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Anonymous posted on

Remember this, everyone? Look at the comments with everyone agreeing with what the author is saying.

http://columbiaspectator.com/opinion/2014/04/13/bacchanal-not-invitation-sexual-harassment.

When you construe Bacchanal as an event that fosters sexual assault, what do you expect? Of course it's going to get cancelled. You can't have your cake and eat it too. What a damn shame.

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yeah posted on

and they say in that article that it is MALE students who are "disgusting". I can tell you countless stories of seeing drunk girls groping guys, trying to put their hands into guys' pants, hugging them, touching them, even when they're pushed away.... all unwanted.... A friend told me a year ago that inside dorm elevator a drunk girl turned her back toward him ad started "grinding" against his crotch... and number of cases like that. It's never even crossed their mind to file a sexual assault claim. And who knows if the whole thing wouldn't be turned around against them Because our "ACtiVISTS" think that it is ONLY GUYS who are sexually aggressive. Yes, I want the concert to be cancelled because drunk girls grope me all the time, stick their tongues into my mouth.... jesus.. when i think that the following day they could accuse ME of rape..... No Columbia girls for me, thank you! (except for some of you who are nice wicked smart - and you know who you are)

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Anonymous posted on

You are delusional. You must see a shrink. By the way, exactly that same thing happened to me in a college elevator, and it turned out to be your mother. No really.

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IntotaCah posted on

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