|(above) DU's former AD Dianne Murphy learned a valuable lesson about free speech this week|
by Mike Mazzeo
NEW YORK -- The Columbia University marching band will be able to participate in Saturday's home finale against Brown, the athletic department announced Thursday night.
The marching band had been banned from performing Saturday after poking fun at the winless football team following a 62-41 defeat last weekend at Cornell. Columbia is 0-9 this season, 0-6 in the Ivy League.
Columbia athletic director Dr. M. Dianne Murphy explained Thursday night why the athletic department decided to change its mind.
"We are proud of our talented and dedicated student-athletes -- but as we have discussed this issue over the past day, we come to the conclusion that the core free speech values of the University are best served by providing a forum both for speech that might sometimes offend -- as well as for the kind of open discussion that ultimately leads to greater understanding and collegiality among all members of our community," she said.
Columbia senior José Delgado, the band's manager, had emailed a statement to ESPNNewYork.com after learning of the team's ban:
"The Columbia University Marching Band would like to apologize to the members of our community, in particular to our fellow classmates and coaches, who were offended by the incident that occurred on November 12 at the Columbia vs. Cornell football game. We accept the consequences and look forward to continue to be a part of our school spirit for future athletic events."