Deans Issue Statement On Bacchanal Cancellation

Written by


This will not be you in a couple of weeks.

Amid a storm of student outrage over the cancellation of a fall Bacchanal, the University deans have issued a statement attempting to explain the reasoning behind the decision.

Two days ago, a letter was issued by the Bacchanal committee, the student councils, and a few other student organizations that revealed Columbia had canceled what would have been our first fall Bacchanal, and put the spring concert under review. It states that the deans vaguely cited “safety concerns associated with drinking and sexual harassment” in their meeting with student leaders as an excuse for the cancellation.

Columbia’s statement alleges that the concert “was never officially scheduled or approved,” whereas students leaders had said that three artists were booked by July 8th for a September 14th concert. Despite claims made by those student leaders, No Red Tape, and CASV, PrezBo’s regime firmly asserts the following: “the decision not to move forward with this concert is not a response to the issue of gender-based misconduct and sexual assault on campus.” No, rather, the timing was poor, as students would have still been “settling into their coursework, which, of course, is the primary reason they are at Columbia,” and there were safety concerns. The statement then goes on to repeat all of the steps the administration has taken to address our Gender-Based Misconduct Policy, because this cancellation definitely wasn’t related to that at all.

We might not be back at school yet, but the war on fun rages on. The full statement can be found below, emphasis ours.

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 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. While we appreciate that student organizers stepped up over the last year to begin to address these continuing issues, and those efforts resulted in a much-improved event last spring, this is not the appropriate time to be adding a new, large-scale Bacchanal event to the fall calendar. We look forward to continue working with students to address these issues in the future.

We also want to be clear that the decision not to move forward with this concert is not a response to the issue of gender-based misconduct and sexual assault on campus.

Over the last year, we have taken a number of steps in response to the sexual assault issue such as developing a new, soon-to-be-announced Gender-Based Misconduct Policy for Students based on recent guidance from the White House and the U.S. Department of Education, and many other actions, including enhanced mandatory training of incoming undergraduates about sexual violence on campus and the meaning of consent, as well as bystander training, which are beginning this summer, plus continuation of training on an ongoing basis during the school year. We have expanded professional staff in the Office of Sexual Violence Response to ensure 24-hour, on-call access to professional staff, while keeping fully intact existing access to peer advocates. We are also opening an additional location for the Rape Crisis Center in Lerner Hall, which will provide a fully accessible alternative to the current location in Barnard’s Hewitt Hall, and have created a new website,, that provides resources for students, faculty and staff. President Bollinger has also created a new Executive Vice President for Student Affairs position, a role that will be responsible, in part, for combatting sexual violence, and the University Senate has vowed to remake the Presidential Advisory Committee on Sexual Assault to increase student representation and the Committee’s transparency. We also plan to release annual aggregate data reporting sexual misconduct in the near future and will be instituting an annual campus climate survey.

We are committed to providing an academic and living environment that emphasizes integrity and respect, and we want to make sure that we begin this academic year by maintaining a campus environment that is safe and welcoming for all members of our community. While we do want students to relax and come together as a community, and know that many students look forward to Bacchanal, we do not believe a new large-scale fall concert is the best way for it to happen.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. LMFAO


  2. StuCo

    I just find it crazy that the deans could lie like this. The event was absolutely approved, and though the higher-ups may not have been involved, the Bacchanal committee was given a 100% go-ahead by Columbia administrators.

    Also, their mention of the steps they have taken to combat sexual assault only emphasizes its influence over their decision to cancel the concert (at the cost of a student's financial aid for an entire school year).

    • jokes

      yeah half this statement details the "measures" that theyve taken to address sexual assault. but ya know, cancelling bacchafall clearly isn't one of them.

    • Rip Van Wilder

      The only thing that's clear right now is that the administration is trying to figure out the most media friendly explanation for this nonsense.

      Pro-tip: trial and error isn't a good PR strategy.

  3. ddssd  

    I kinda agree with the deans bachanal is a shit show and reflects poorly on us

  4. They are

    Putting the "k" in 55k

  5. point of clarification

    This is a statement from the Associate Vice President, Media Relations.
    The letter on the Spec's website is signed by the four undergraduate deans.

    So this isn't from the dean's, correct? I just want to keep clear who is saying what. Thanks!

  6. fuckthedeans

    "you want to humiliate us with campus sexual assault scandals? bachaNO for you"

  7. hmm

    funny how this 'response' doesn't mention the review of the Spring Bacchanal

  8. so

    Columbia is in the business of giving away $55k for causes that were "never officially scheduled or approved"?

    Dear CU, I have a few (probably) unapproved things I'd like some money for. I look forward to receiving your check.

    • Anonymous

      Seriously. The efforts I've had to go to resolve issues of less than a hundred dollars... if you got $55k it involved Prezbo and inverted pentagrams (the sundial is a flat circle).

  9. Captain Incredulous

    That's just what we students need, another Executive Vice President that costs the school $500,000 a year. Columbia has become a bureaucratic behemoth with too many do nothing and non-accountable administrators. They all are a joke. Students and Alums, don't give this school a single dime of your money.

    • CC Alum

      This is so true. So he's going to create YET ANOTHER $500k admin position reporting to him. Great. Isn't that what he did with athletics when he came to Columbia? Some good that did. (I do support's not their fault their president is disengaged)

  10. Honestly

    I was really looking forwards to the free bagels. For all I care they could cancel it, as long as they kept the bagels... now we have neither!

    • But wait...

      Bacchanal's budget is about $100,000 a year... We're at Columbia for about 200 days a year. I vote for transferring the Bacchanal budget into a $500 daily bagel fund. Go to Absolute and get 500 bagels each day to distribute in Lerner.

  11. if i protest hard enough

    can I get Columbia to open a position for Executive Vice President of Nightlife, and can I nominate myself for the position?

  12. haven't even started my second year

    and i'm already so over this school

    • Anonymous

      If you are "so over this school" please leave. You are the pessimist individual that constantly complain and do nothing to foster community. It's 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 more than proud attend this wonderful school.

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

  13. Everyone stop complaining

    Then transfer if you are so unhappy. People dream to get in this school and we are complaining about a concert. I don't know about you but I spend my 70k tuition on my academics which is my focus so I can better myself.

  14. Anonymous

    honestly, given the bachannal committee's history of artist choices in the past (cough Lupe Fiasco) it's probably better that we didn't have to hear their alleged picks in the fall.

  15. Senior

    God this school is miserable. Absolutely no school spirit or community. Makes me question why I even came here to begin with.

  16. CC '18

    I already miss the good ol' days. As a pre-frosh.

  17. CC Alum

    I like how PrezBo puts this on the Deans. This has Bollinger Cabal written all over it. Which of his senior admin cronies wrote the statement? 1%'ers all of them. Blaming the Deans. Give me a break.

  18. Senior  

    I stand corrected. Student and Administrative Services. RIP.

  19. Anonymous

    Fuck it. Let's cancel NSOP too! Probably would make sense according to administration's logic.

  20. Logic of Collective Choice  

    It's not about a concert - it's about the university's misguided work in the area of rape prevention that implies the best way to keep students safe is to keep them at home. Those of you who think it's inappropriate to criticize your university should ask for your money back bc you clearly haven't been taught much analytic ability in your time here.

  21. CC '12

    I'll be sure to keep this in mind when Columbia Giving Day rolls around.

  22. Anonymous

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

  23. Anonymous

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

    • big ideas

      Yes well in Bollinger's Cracker Jack administration this is how they handle student (and faculty) concerns. Easiest course of action: Shut it down. Provost Troy's spouse Susan G. gets involved--muddies the process, breaks it, shuts it down. That's what happened here and countless times before, all over campus. They won't lift a finger for you. Why bother? They're accountable to no one. This President's not available. He doesn't care.

© 2006-2015 Blue and White Publishing Inc.