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Oct.22, 2008

Vol. 109, No. 3

A lack of hospitality

As a Southerner (born in Alabama, raised in Texas), I was saddened to learn the details of the recent football game at The Citadel in South Carolina. In particular, the cadets’ treatment of the Princeton University Band failed to live up to traditions of Southern hospitality. I have been in contact with several band members, and I hope that other Tigers are aware that the band reported very courteous and respectful interaction with many Citadel students and alumni.

It is unfortunate that a particularly rowdy group of cadets were so violent and disrespectful, especially given the fact that approximately 40 Princeton-ians were surrounded by this group, leading to a very lopsided impression that all Citadel students ignored the fact that their own administration invited the band to parade around the campus and even provided escorts to make sure that the band stayed in appropriate areas and did not disrupt any Citadel activities.

I am quite proud, however, that the members of the band mostly exhibited exemplary behavior and refrained from escalating things, even after Citadel students attacked them with sufficient force to break one band member’s instrument. A number of Citadel alumni and faculty told the band later that the cadets’ behavior had been inexcusable, and apologized.

Their high regard for the band and Princeton was no doubt helped by the fact that band president Alex Barnard ’09 began working with The Citadel months ago in an attempt — sadly futile — to avoid any unpleasantness. Mr. Barnard made available past scripts, discussed with Citadel staff the general antics of a scramble band, and even asked specifically about parading through campus on the morning of the game.

I hope that next year Citadel fans will receive a much warmer reception when they arrive on the Princeton campus, and that all Tigers will exhibit the same maturity as the band did last weekend. A locomotive for the PUB!

(Editor’s note: See page 6 in Notebook for coverage of the band’s reception at
The Citadel. Additional band-related letters from Amelia R. Brown ’99, Joel Thompson ’08, Charlie Bergen ’07, and Sharon Keld ’80 can be found Online.)

Robert Wright ’97
Seattle, Wash.

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