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Columbia students angry after school cancels fall concert

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NEW YORK (PIX11) -- Columbia University’s fall semester hasn’t even started yet, and there are already a lot of angry students, upset over a schedule change.

After coming under fire for its policies on how it has responded to sexual assaults on campus, the Ivy League school has canceled a concert known as Bacchanal that was set for Sept. 14.  The spring version of the popular event is under review.

“It’s the one thing students show up to. So people are angry it’s not going to happen,” said Columbia senior Emma Sarachan.

The decision comes after 23 Columbia University and Barnard College students filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education in April, charging the university made it difficult for them to report sexual assaults on campus.  As for calling off the big fall party, Columbia put out a statement to explain, which reads in part:

"While the spring Bacchanal concert is a tradition on the Columbia campus, there has never been a Bacchanal event of this scale in the fall, and this concert was never officially scheduled or approved. The undergraduate deans decided, as their prerogative, based on a history of concerns about safety, crowd control and inappropriate behavior during the spring concert, that student organizers should not move forward with a similar concert during the second week of the fall semester, when students are still settling into their coursework, which, of course, is the primary reason that they are at Columbia.”

Columbia senior Lukas Yep said calling it off won’t help the situation.

“I think there were problems at the spring Bacchanal, and nobody’s going to deny that.  But at the same time, there are these problems that are going to happen where there’s alcohol.  Whether they cancel every Bacchanal or every campus event, there are still students going to throw parties in their dorms, and these situations will come up,” said Yep.

Columbia, according to the Bacchanal board, has vowed to reimburse the $55,000 that student groups had to shell out for the concert’s performers.