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April 26, 2017

Cayuga’s Waiters Permanently Dismissed From Campus

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This post has been updated.

After a temporary suspension was put in place Sept. 2, Cayuga’s Waiters — Cornell’s oldest all-male a cappella group — has been “permanently dismissed,” according to the University.

During the investigation following the suspension, the organization was discovered to be allegedly involved in hazing activities throughout the fall 2015 and spring 2016 semesters.

These activities included requiring new members and non-senior members to “sit naked in an ice bath in a bathroom during an organization trip; apply Icy Hot to their genitals; and race up and down a street and then consume food,” according to the University hazing website.

Furthermore, the investigation found that these activities had allegedly been going on for at least 10 years.

Although there were “positive steps to ameliorate some aspects of the hazing activities and reduce elements of hazing rituals in the fall 2016 semester,” the effects of these changes were unclear because the organization was suspended two weeks into the semester.

Following the investigation, the University Hearing Board “levied a list of sanctions against the organization and lifted the temporary suspension.” However, the Office of the Judicial Administrator appealed this decision, claiming that the sanctions were “not commensurate with the violations for which the organization was found responsible.”

The University Review Board agreed with the OJA, and “modified the sanctions and permanently dismissed” the organization.

Although the a cappella group attempted to appeal the decision of the URB to the Interim President Hunter Rawlings, the president upheld the URB’s decision.

“This behavior [hazing] has no place at Cornell, and I agree with the URB that dismissal of the organization is appropriate,” Rawlings wrote on the University hazing website.

Mary Mueller ’18, president of A Cappella Advisory Council, said that although the Waiters have not been part of the ACAC in recent years, the council “does not condone any behavior in violation of the Code of Conduct” and stands by the University’s decision.

Senior Director of Media Relations John Carberry commented that this “step was not taken lightly.”

With 67 years on campus, the group was the campus’ oldest a capella group. Founded in 1949, the group was originally a subset of the Cornell University Glee Club. The group later disassociated from the Glee Club in 1956.

Having produced a total of 25 albums, The Waiters were especially known for one of their most popular songs produced in the mid-1990s, “We Didn’t Go to Harvard,” a parody of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” Singing along to this song with the Waiters holds the number 4 spot in 161 Things Every Cornellian Should Do.

“We [the University] recognize that this organization has a deep history at Cornell,” Carberry wrote in a statement. “Still we must act powerfully to protect the current and future students of this University when violations of the Campus Campus Code of Conduct are established through application of the Code’s procedures,” Carberry wrote.

  • Here Comes Treble

    I fail to see the problem here:

    Just some young men having a good ‘ol homoerotic time putting icy hot on each other’s peeters

    • Gay Ally

      Wow, this is a pretty offensive comment…homophobic and really not even relevant. Shameful.

      • Dustin Unfeld

        I agree the comment is offensive. But seems the real problem is the unequal application of “justice” here. Imagine if Cornell held frats to the same punitive standard. Perhaps the Waiters just didn’t have enough rich white guys destined for big-wig business careers to merit the same exemption from the rules enjoyed by the Greek system?

        Also, seems like the Office of the JA is just trying to restore some credibility to itself after the Mitch McBride fiasco. Who could be pro-hazing? But it’s funny to see university stooge John Carberry acting like they’re taking the high ground here after all the BS he’s been spewing out about how McBride — the one person on the financial aid committee actually interested in telling the truth — was somehow ‘preventing cornell from exploring all options.’

        As an alum, I sure won’t be donating any money to these folks either. The JA is out of control, and university comms is turning into the biggest embarrassment of all

        • Travis ’94

          I agree, with a clarification. I believe that the Waiters thing actually happened BEFORE the McBride thing. It just took a while to get out.

        • Greek alumnus

          You have no idea how wrong you ate about the Greeks getting off lightly. Making this about race and wealth is ignorant. Wealth didn’t stop the university from screwing Chi Psi or shutting other houses down

        • Alum ’13

          You think Cornell doesn’t hold frats to the same punitive standard? And that CW doesn’t have its fair share of rich white guys? Both notions are laughable.

          • Greek Alumnus

            Agreed. TEP got permanently banned for similar issues, and other fraternities are frequently punished for much smaller violations. The hazing outlined in this article is extremely horrendous and invasive to the CW members. And CW members, to my knowledge, are pretty wealthy and also involved in Greek life. There’s a lot of overlap. Fraternities are held to incredibly high standards at Cornell.

          • Dustin Unfeld

            Yeah well I was in a frat too and I can tell you that what these boys got busted for isn’t anything but small potatoes. This kinda stuff happens all the time across the greek system. Sure they make an example out of somebody every now and then — or somebody crosses a line gets caught — but all the hazing runs rampant. Maybe 1 or 2 percent of it gets punished, if that. Let’s not pretend there’s any real oversight

            But my point wasn’t really about frats — it’s that the timing of this is suspicious. Kindof like the university wants to make itself look good again, so they find somebody to punish, take the high ground, and make news about it.

            If it’s Pollack who’s the president that upheld the decision to permanently ban a very longstanding Cornell tradition w/in a week of coming into office. Well.. to me this looks like more of a public relations move for cornell desperate to get its credibility back after all the bad press from their law-breaking in the union election followed closely by the mcbride fiasco. I’d say the admins’ approval rating is at an all-time low. The timing of this is suspicious. Somebody ought to look into it

          • FeeFoe

            Dustin is a liar. Members of fraternities never refer to them as, “frats.”

            Nice try though.

        • congratulations Justin on bringing race into this discussion. generally a sign of a weak mind and usually irrelevant to the topic at hand. kudos to you!!

          • Dustin Unfeld

            FF if you’re gonna call me a liar, you’d probably better come up w some better evidence.

            “Bubba” if you’re going to insult me at least get my name right. The folks above who point out there’s plenty of rich white boys in the waiters make a legitimate point. And you can be sure that if they weren’t of such status, it wouldn’t just be the Waiters getting disbanded, minorities caught w the same behavior would likely be thrown off campus and threatened w legal action from the JA inquisitor.

            And “Bubba” the real mark of “a weak mind” is making bullshit arguments w/o any rationale or evidence, kudos to you!

      • Big Cornell Bear


        Weird right? Like people have an aversion to unnatural acts with attendant STDs and STIs … how gauche!

      • Denver

        homophobia is a myth

      • LukeJohn

        It’s sarcasm and not meant to be taken literally.

      • Eric Axelson

        I’m gay. I find the above comment neither offensive nor homophobic. And it is relevant. Did you even read the article? It’s called humor, sarcasm. Lighten up. There is such a thing as being overly PC.

      • Eric A.

        I’m gay. I find the above comment neither offensive nor homophobic. And it is relevant. Did you even read the article? It’s called humor, sarcasm. Lighten up. There is such a thing as being overly PC.

  • Here Comes Treble

    When men and women are distrustful of each other, things turn gay and homoerotic real fast … lemme put some icy hot on your pecker

    • Gay Ally

      Again, there is no place for a comment like this in a forum like this.

      • Big Gay Al

        Pretty sure rubbing tingling burning cream on each other’s genitals is THE definition of homoerotic activity.

        feels bad man

  • Here Comes Treble

    nothing build character like rubbing vic’s vapor rub on another man’s nips

  • Here Comes Treble

    nothing builds character like rubbing vic’s vapor rub on another man’s nips

  • Here Comes Treble

    nothing like rubbing icy hot on another man’s peeter to help dispel the impression that men in a cappella groups are … a little light in the loafers

  • Here Comes Treble

    Inside America’s most homoerotic a cappella groups

    sponsored by icy hot: feel the bern!

  • Alum who’s not giving money until the JA is no longer out of control

    Cornell should have left it at the initial response — the one before the JA appealed it. I.e., punish, but don’t destroy the group for this!

    Why did the JA appeal the initial response? Why not just leave the hearing board’s decision (a list of sanctions) alone?

    The JA treats everything the same way: get rid of them, be it a group or an individual. No temperance/moderation in their response.

    What Cayuga’s Waiters did wasn’t that bad in terms of hazing; i.e., no one was going to get alcohol poisoning and die.
    I’m not a big fan of frats, but Cornell is trying to eliminate all frats and other similar organizations.

    • hazing is bad

      Any sort of hazing is bad. All of it. “Not bad hazing” does not exist.

      • Well then you can gtfo and not join if you are such a beta cuck. Leave us men to what we’re doing.

        • BiggerThanYou

          “Us men” lololol you are so pathetically insecure in your own masculinity it’s almost laughable.

          • Identifying myself and like-minded people as men = insecure. K.

      • Hazing is not always bad

        I was hazed and I attribute much of my success to it. I arrived at Cornell like many Cornell freshmen do…a somewhat nerdy high school kid…and a year later I had the superior social skills that made me a highly touted engineer. An intolerance for hazing only appears to be the popular position because anti-hazing advocates demonize everyone who participates in it.

        • Exactly because the anti-hazing people themselves are nerdy losers. They hate anyone who’s better than them.

          • Fabulous Gay Alum

            haha I love the name!
            Is that a Sam Hyde reference?

          • Gary Teekay

            Part of higher education is learning to be civilized. Obviously some guys get through without the “civilized” part.

        • Open-minded Nerd

          I’m a nerdy Cornellian interested in understanding your perspective. Could you explain why hazing is valuable, and how it contributed to your success and social skills?

        • Dr. J.

          Anti hazing exists because of the countless numbers of deaths or near-deaths, or permanent injury associated with it. Hazing proves nothing. It only allows the upper classmen vent their own sadistic frustrations. Nothing good comes out of it.

      • Keith Forman

        ??? Frat hazing isn’t forced on anyone. You choose to pledge, you choose to stay. I was in a frat and the stuff in this article is tame compared to 30 years ago. snowflake syndrome.

        Lefties are making the world unlivable. Everyone suing everyone for slightest perceived offense, kids getting arrested for things kids have been doing since time started. I say double down on your silliness. As quality of education continues to decline, government becomes more and more inefficient, bureaucracy and hypocritical politically correct speech increases, everything begins breaking down. Atlas shrugged – we’re living it.

        • falconflight

          Anyone interested in history repeating itself, should read the tactics employed by the National Socialists of 1920’s Germany and the the period between the 1906 and 1917 perpetrated by the International Socialists of Russia. Institutions of academia are at the forefront of Marxist subversion and they really are going to be at the forefront of backlash in spades….

    • currentstudent

      Speaking as a student currently on campus, i’ve been told by members of the waiters that there were activities that DID put people in danger of alcohol poisoning. The hazing mentioned in this article is not everything they did, there’s more that the university doesn’t have to release. Their decision was based on more info than we have, speculating won’t do much.

      • formerstudent

        To be fair, what you just said sounds like speculation…

        • currentstudent

          I was told by a member of the waiters, which is a direct source since he was the one who went through the hazing.
          True, you’ll have to trust me, but I wanted to weigh in and point out that the waiters did haze with alcohol too.

    • Alum ’13

      The hazing wasn’t that bad? It sounds like sexual assault to me.

      • formerstudent

        This does not at all fit the definition of sexual assault.

        • Alum ’13

          They were forced to put icy hot on their genitals. In what universe is that not sexual assault?

  • Cornell is going downhill ever since the SJW’s took over. Now they have destroyed one of the symbols and traditions of Cornell! What have the Waiters done? Some homo stuff? I call this homophobia!

  • Travis ’94

    I agree with “Alum who’s not giving money until the JA is no longer out of control”. While the value of hazing in modern society is debatable, hazing in such a small group CANNOT be so haphazardly labeled as a systemic issue. This group is maybe 15 guys, and there is zero institutional infrastructure. Ban the current guys from the group and repopulate it. It’s as easy as that.

    I have never been so disappointed in the university. The Waiters are a longstanding tradition and, personally, are among my fondest memories of my time at Cornell. Even as the faces of my friends and the learnings from my classes fade away, I’ll never forget sitting in their audience and reveling in the fact that We Didn’t Go to Harvard.

    A fine example of Cornelliana sadly erased by a formulaic and weak JA.

  • The sjws running this cucked campus are terrified that some young men are engaged in some harmless childish fun. I bet the real reason that Waiters were attacked and dismantled is their refusal to join A Cappella Advisory Council and be controlled by the university. Those control freaks would destroy anyone who refuses to submit under them.

    • Ackackack

      Yeah, ACAC is a student group with no real punitive abilities and a limited connection to university leadership in any capacity, beyond having a faculty advisor who doesn’t participate in any meetings. So while flattering for ACAC, your “out to get ’em” theory is pretty silly

  • “Hazing is bad, ban everyone, reeeee!”

    You can choose not to join, you know.

    “But, but muh feelings!”

    Feeling offended? gtfo and kys, no one cares.

    The cucks are always envious and hostile to masculinity because they don’t have any, so they want to make everyone else as cucked as they are, and destroy anyone refusing to conform to their sick beliefs.

    • Alum ’13

      Do you just brainlessly parrot whatever you read on Breitbart? Your use of “cuck” is gross and only screams of your own insecurity.

      • As if Breitbart invented the word “cuck”. Do you just brainlessly repeat whatever your liberal sjw friends tell you? You know what is gross and screaming of insecurity? Projecting your pathetic liberal lunacies onto everyone else and banning anyone who disagrees. “Hazing is disrespectful and dehumanizing!” — Just because you feel bad, doesn’t mean it’s actually bad, beta cuck.

      • FalconFlight

        Never been to this site before, but reading your rote line (R U a college student per chance @ said institution?) about BB, I just had to laugh at your (Sorry for my lack of compassion) severe case of Dunning-Kruger Syndrome. These is no expectation of a cure for you. Salon/Slate pedophile supporter?

        • FalconFlight

          correction: There is no….

    • Alumnus

      It’s all harmless fun until someone gets seriously injured, hospitalized, or dies under these fucked up traditions. You’re right in saying that “you don’t have to participate.” But many feel that they do have to participate or they will be deprived of something they worked hard for, so they subject themselves to harsh conditions they wouldn’t normally go through. That’s when the university starts running into problems. If they make a statement and say that this type of behavior will be not tolerated and punishable to the fullest extent, it decreases the likelihood it will happen in the future. Organizations need to know that this is never okay. And this is only the information we have. I suspect there were much more dangerous activities going on that the Sun doesn’t report on/doesn’t know about.

      • From this article I haven’t found anything illegal that Waiters have done. As a group they decide who they accept and what they are expected to do. Anyone who feels uncomfortable can choose to leave and join another non-hazing group. University had no right to infringe and ban Waiters when they did nothing illegal.

  • Dean Wormer

    Go long Icy Hot, short Atomic Balm….there has been a changing of the guard of the prank salve of choice.

  • West Coaster

    As part of a Cornell alum organization on the West Coast, we’ve enjoyed visiting concerts from the Waiters, and they’ve brought back great memories. I agree they are an important institution and the punishment should be disbanding for a few years, but Cornell shouldn’t throw out a valuable “brand name.” Let them reconvene like the frats do after a couple of years with new guys. Maybe they’d bring back the classic 80’s song “Surfing on Beebe Lake!”

    (Some Lyrics: Don’t think about the classes you forgot to take, when you were surfin’ on Beebe Lake…Beebe Lake, There aren’t any waves there, Beebe Lake, It’s kind of cold there, Beebe Lake, not even a beach there, If you float too far, babe you’re gonna gorge out)

    • Diane

      @West Coaster……….I love that song!

      • Dan

        @West Coaster – OMG! You’ve validated what I was starting to believe was a faulty memory from long ago freshman year. I remember hearing them sing Surfing on Beebe Lake at the orientation bonfire in the west campus dustbowl (only west campus still exists, no more bonfire, no more dustbowl). I’ve looked but but haven’t been able to find references or lyrics to the song.

        • I was there

          I was in CW when we recorded Bebe Lake in 1983. It was written by Jim Moore and arranged by Tim Galante & Jonathan Wallach.
          It’s on our album “12 degrees North”.
          P.S. There was no hazing during my 3 years with the group. Not sure when it went downhill.

  • surlybastard

    Now what excuse will students use to rub icy hot on their genitals?

    • Rocky Dennis

      Still a more pleasant experience than having sex with the average fugly girl at Cornell haha

      • Alum

        Says the person who probably isn’t getting any/didn’t get any from anyone while they were here, “fugly” or otherwise… nice to know you masturbate with icy hot though

        • Proud Gay Cornell Alum

          Do you fondly recall picking up antibiotics at Gannet following a night of youthful indiscretions? lolz

          Cornell girls are hideous. Sure ain’t UF or Northeastern quality girls haha

  • Anonymous

    Glad the clubs are finally facing the same scrutiny the Greek system has been under for years. The hypocrisy was rediculous!

  • Lauryn Slotnick ’04

    Why did they not simply bar all current members suspected of such activities from membership to the Waiters? There’s literally nothing about the accusations that suggests that the bad actions are in any way inherent to or inseparable from the group or its mission. Shame on you, Cornell, for failing to take reasonable steps of banning any current members suspected of bad acts from the group and instituting greater oversight, and instead taking the ridiculous, extreme, and nonsensical approach of banning the singing group entirely.

    • Criticalreadingisyourfriend

      “Furthermore, the investigation found that these activities had allegedly been going on for at least 10 years.”

      Seems like a systemic issue with the group. Other reports also found that alums of the group returned to engage in this activities as well. No way this a “bad apple” situation

  • Miransky

    When and if the group is allowed to re-form and return, it will be called Cayuga’s Waitstaff and will be co-ed. Of course the word in the Alma Mater song will have to be changed so the new name will make sense.

  • memegod
  • Swizzy

    But the lacrosse team stays after their hazing incident. Would be a good follow up article. Why so light in Cornell lacrosse?

    • nearboston

      Unlike the A Capella group, the homosexuals on the LaCrosse team are for the most part closeted, like the administrators charged with their discipline.

  • John Shumway

    Icy hot and ice cubes? Running and eating? I call on the Board of Trustees to sanction the administration for its absurd overreach in dismissing Cayuga’s Waiters forever. Perhaps this is just another a symptom of the explosive growth of top administrative staff and salaries. The Board needs the support of Alumni to reign in the administration and put the University on a sustainable track toward the future of education. The next time you’re asked to give, consider taking a hard look at where your dollars are going.

  • Reality Check

    In 2011 SAE new-member activities led to the death of a sophomore and SAE was banned for four years. (But they are apparently not back yet.) The Waiters activities are not identified as having led to any public-safety or medical or crisis-management involvement yet the penalty is permanent. Where’s the symmetry? And since when is Cornell’s public-relations machine rather than a cognizant student-affairs official making such announcements?

  • Cornell alumnus

    Cornell, an educational institution, missed an important educational opportunity. Abolishing is a whole easier than the hard work of administrators (and CW alumni) working with these young people. Teaching them some lessons. Surely CW members are not all equally culpable.

    • Cornell alumnus

      Cornell, an educational institution, missed an important educational opportunity. Abolishing is a whole easier than the hard work of administrators (and CW alumni) working with these young people. Teaching them some lessons. Surely CW members are not all equally culpable.

      [Correction: A whole “lot” easier]

    • nearboston

      Working with them? Teaching them some lessons??

      Seems like too much work for an a capella group.

  • Tee Fee Crane

    Closing a fraternity means the displaced members need to be housed. Terminating a sport means laying off athletics staff, enduring the wrath of alumni, and losing donor funds tied to that sport. Kicking a singing group off campus hurts no one but the 15 members and few hundred alumni. With the historic number of Title IX investigations underway on campus and multiple lawsuits pending, Cornell needs to look tough. Making a big show of nailing the Waiters–a Cornell tradition for 67 years–gives their general counsel some good talking points for cross-examination. Look at the number of Greek organization suspensions for vague “recognition policy violations” in The Sun. The allegations against this generation of CW members are bad—I would not want my kid to get treated that way, nor would I have allowed it done to myself—but the extreme punishment does not line up with the bigger violations of other organizations. They were made an example of, pure and simple.

  • Yeye


  • Yeye



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  • Charlie O Jones

    A cappella is pretty gay, but not as gay as dance groups or chorus.. but it is close.

  • Chris Pearson

    Imagine their surprise to learn that there was some sort of initiation to this venerable old institution. Pretty commonplace these days. Individual wants to join group, group says, “This is how we do things.” Individual says, “I don’t like that, you have to change.” Group says, “OK”.

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  • silver fox


    • FalconFlight

      ….Nuthin….Calling Winston, calling Winston Smith….

  • Dalton

    I suppose these days it was wrong of me to assume before reading the story that a hazing incident involving a college glee club would involve boys rubbing things on each other’s genitals. Not incorrect, but wrong.

  • nearboston


    You’re telling me…that an All MAle A Capella group forced prospective new members to do weird naked s#it and abuse their own to nads???

    Who’d a thunk it…..

  • Jack

    I would think that icy hot on male genitaillia would make anybody sing. After all, isn’t that the prime objective of this group…to sing? Alas, in reality, no one cares. Everyone at Cornell could go fornicate themselves and we would think it normal. After all, today higher education is nothing more than self gratification by those who can afford to purchase a degree for themselves or their heirs….or, like Barry O., via a free ride. Get over yourselves….

  • Sam Dennis

    Sorry, but this story is just too hazy for me to comprehend.

  • Yirmin Snipe

    The joke is that the “Waiters” didn’t do the hazing. The hazing was done by specific members of the group, but instead of simply expelling the members of the group they decide to eliminate the group leaving the people responsible for the hazing in school where they can channel their hazing behavior in some other university group.

    Wouldn’t it have made much more sense to simply expel the students responsible for it? Oh that’s right if they did that it would cut down on the money that the school takes in from tuition…. we wouldn’t want that now would we…. In the end this is just the same BS that happens in high schools where administrations say we have zero tolerance for bullies and then does nothing to address the problem. That’s all this does, the university does in fact sanction hazing because they have done nothing to eliminate the hazers just a group that happened to have hazers in it.

  • Bill

    Icy hot smeared on genitals? So that’s how they hit the high notes. Always wondered. Now we know.

  • joe piscapo

    Isn’t Cornhole in Jersey?

  • Bob Steele

    Cornell is full of pussy snowflakes.

    • Jim Woodside, ’73

      And that’s just the Administration !

  • Paul Davenport Class of ’60

    Interesting that the Waiters are disbanded for this whilst am armed takeover of Willard Straight Hall by the Black Panthers was ignored and nobody charged by the Cornell Administration. Where is the justice in either?

  • Ben

    Hazing is steeped in the roots of the occult, its wraps people up in a controlled highrachy system and keeps them accountable to it, In a light scene it can be used as black mail.

    Some of the Hazing I have seen from both genders are quite shocking and shameful, you would not want your future spouse to see them.

  • SNRKY2

    Far above Cayuga’s waters are dumb waiters. Just amazes me how generations of us Ithacans have survived the infestations of erudite. erotic, and erratic students who should have gone to Greece instead! Try their Greek system… Come on, Big Red! Whatya here for?

  • Jeff Sullivan ’93

    Absolutely absurd judgment by the administration. Let’s throw away 68 years of University tradition outright without even the chance to redeem or repent. This is our world now, 1 strike and you’re out.

    No warnings, no suspensions or probation, just cancel the group outright. Insanity.

    Knee jerk reaction of the judicial board perfectly befitting our knee jerk society.

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  • A Waiter

    Fuck Psi U

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