The director of Yale Bands, Thomas Duffy, suspended the Yale Precision Marching Band on Monday over a prop used during the Yale-Harvard Game halftime show that he described as “completely inappropriate and highly offensive.”
The prop, a graffiti-covered replica of the Berlin Wall, was the centerpiece of a halftime show that portrayed Harvard as a Communist empire. The wall, which had profanity written on it, contained elements that Duffy said he had not approved.
“I was personally embarrassed and offended, and professionally compromised,” Duffy wrote in an e-mail message to band members on Monday, which was obtained by the News. “I am suspending the Yale Precision Marching Band from all activities and performances, effective as of this very moment.”
On Wednesday afternoon, the band’s drum major Rosa Li ’09 released a statement apologizing for the obscenities written on the prop Berlin Wall.
“The contentious graffiti was the result of a poor judgment call on the part of one or two members who, exhausted and sleep-deprived from working through the night and into the morning to build the prop, allowed their emotions regarding the Yale-Harvard rivalry to get the better of them,” Li wrote. “Had I or any other Yale Band student leader noticed the offending graffiti, we never would have allowed it on the field.”
In an e-mail message to the YPMB at 5:22 p.m. on Monday, Li said the wall prop did contain “some genuinely inappropriate things on it (i.e. more inappropriate than ‘sucks’) that I would have made y’all paint over, had I seen it.”
“That being said, I don’t think much, if any of it, would have been visible or noticed from the stands,” she continued.
In an e-mail message to the News on Monday, Duffy said he had no comment on the incident, which he called an “internal matter for the Yale Bands.”
Stay tuned to yaledailynews.com for exclusive online coverage throughout the week. The News will resume regular publication on Dec. 1.