University band harassed by cadets at Citadel
Following the game, Citadel commanding officers and the president of the Citadel student body apologized to the band for the cadets’ behavior, several band members said.
The altercation began when the band marched, with prior approval from The Citadel’s administration, through a guarded entrance onto the campus. The band’s traditional march through the home team’s campus brought the performers into contact with The Citadel’s cadets, who were outside for field activities.
“Some of [the cadets] started running towards us and ran back … but it didn’t seem threatening at all,” Simon Fox Krauss ’11 said.
Yet when the band tried to continue its march, Krauss said, the cadets surrounded the Princeton students and began booing loudly, linking arms to form a line blocking their path.
In response to the blocked path, Lucas Giron ’09, the band’s drum major, gave the order to “scramble” — break formation and leave.
Band conductor R.W. Enoch ’09 said that at this point, “a number of cadets broke ranks and got into physical altercations with some of our members.”
In the skirmish that followed, several band members were physically attacked and spit on, band members said, adding that at least one member had his instrument broken.
The Citadel’s Commandant’s Office and student body president could not be reached on Sunday, and the college’s Office of Public Safety declined to comment for this article.
Jordan Bubin ’09 said he was tackled by “three or four cadets” and pushed up against a tree.
“The booing was so loud, [and] the cadets who were on the field were yelling at us, ‘Cut your hair, long-haired faggots’ and ‘You go have fun in college, I’ll go fight the war,’ ” he said.
The cadets also stole band members’ hats and spit on female members of the band, some members said.
Bubin added that he overheard older cadets ordering the younger students to go after the band.
PUB president Alex Barnard ’09 said that he found the cadets’ behavior “offensive and demeaning.”
Barnard said his immediate response was to direct the band to leave campus.
Several of The Citadel’s commanding officers, however, brought the situation under control and asked the band to continue its pre-approved march.
The band was escorted on the rest of its march around campus by commanding officers without further altercations, Barnard said. Bubin said, however, that the band was “pursued and taunted” in spite of the escort.
Later in the day, when the band appeared on the football field to perform its halftime show, the taunting continued.
“During the halftime, there was booing as soon as we went onto the field,” Enoch said. Though the cadets avoided any further physical confrontation, Enoch noted that for the entire nine-minute half time show, the jeers were so loud that the band’s act could hardly be heard.
Barnard said he was surprised by the reaction to the show because the band’s performance at The Citadel was “the tamest halftime show the team has ever delivered.”
The script of the show was approved and censored by The Citadel’s administration before the performance. All jokes were written with attention paid to the Citadel’s conservative atmosphere, he added.
The band members said they were also taunted while cheering from their seats in the stands during the game.
“During the game itself, somewhere between 50 and 70 cadets circled the band in plain sight of an Army captain and Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel,” Dan Jaffe ‘10 said in an e-mail. “When ordered back to their seats by [higher ranking officers] they were slow to obey.”
Jaffe, who has trained in the Marine Corps, said he found the behavior of the cadets “astounding.”
He added that he thought the fact that the cadets “lacked the discipline to maintain proper military bearing should, at the very least, make their superiors question the wisdom of awarding them commissions in the United States Armed Forces.”
Enoch noted that bands do not accompany visiting teams during most football games at The Citadel.
The influx of Princeton students on The Citadel campus, he said, may have made the cadets “kind of territorial.” He added that the cadets may have been intimidated because “they usually don’t play schools of the caliber of Princeton.”
Barnard also blamed the cadets’ behavior on a “mob mentality” and stressed that though the cadets together were threatening, “every cadet I actually talked to was very nice.”
Bubin added, “There were some enormously friendly cadets there … but those friendly cadets were outnumbered easily 150 to one.”