Marist College Band Please Decline Trump's Inauguration Invitation

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Marist College Band Please Decline Trump's Inauguration Invitation

This petition had 3,351 supporters
Petition to
Marist Band Director Arthur Himmelberger and

Why this petition matters

Started by Jennifer Hoffman

Some of us are signing this petition are Marist students, alumni, their family or friends.  We might live in the community.  Perhaps we are prospective students considering applying to Marist.  We are people that have been caught in Trump's crosshairs of hate or are simply disgusted by the values Trump embodied to get elected.  

We are all disappointed with the Marist's decision to participate in Trump's inauguration.  Trump's history of racism, bigotry and sexism does not reflect Marist College values. We are concerned that participating in this inauguration will send the message that Marist supports Trump's values, even if that is not the college's intention.

By signing this petition you are sending the following letter to Marist administration.  If you wish to add you own reasons for opposing this decision, be sure to mention them in the comments.  If you are a member of the Marist community, I encourage you to include this in your comments.


I have been a proud member of the Marist community as an alumnus from the class of 2003.  Marist was more than a college to me, it influenced who I would become years after graduation.  

I grew up in a small town in rural New York.  My first memory of Marist was a visit to your campus while I was in high school and it greatly influenced my decision to join the Marist community.  My Mother brought me to Marist in 1999 to hear Elie Wiesel speak.  His inspirational words helped shape who I am today.

When I arrived at your campus freshman year for band camp, I was overwhelmed.  It was the first time I had spent an extended time away from home.  Being an only child, I was adjusting to living life in the tight quarters of a triple in the Leo residence hall.  When I had trouble adjusting to campus life and considered returning home, I turned to the friends I had made in the band.  They did not judge me for my anxiety, nor did they pressure me to stay.  They showed me that they were my second family and provided the support I needed to adjust to campus life.  It was an inclusive environment and I have proudly shared my experience with friends and family, especially when they tell me their children are thinking about applying to Marist.

The College’s decision to send the Marist band to participate in the 2017 presidential inauguration draws a stark contrast to my first experiences with the Marist community.  My first experience on campus was listening to a holocaust survivor speak and I now read in the news that my alma mater will march in an inauguration where the president-elect proudly shares anti-semitic content on his Twitter feed.  My first experiences as a freshman taught me of inclusion, equality, respect, and love.  Our president-elect embraces ideals that are the antithesis of these values.

The mission of Marist College states they are dedicated to helping students develop the intellect, character, and skills required for enlightened, ethical, and productive lives in the global community of the 21st century.  Marist College fulfills its mission by pursuing three ideals: excellence in education, a sense of community, and a commitment to service. These ideals were handed down to us by the Marist Brothers who founded the College. Now an independent institution governed by a lay board of trustees, Marist continues to embrace the three ideals as an integral part of the College mission.

I understand what the potential positive impact this performance could mean for the music program at Marist.  I remember Art speaking of the Marist Music program with an immense amount of pride and the student’s performances demonstrate this same sense of pride.  This petition is not meant to take anything away from the Marist Band’s accomplishments.  I know what Art has put into building this program from a few students to a packed practice room over the last thirty years. I borrow from a fellow band alumni in saying this opportunity is “a big deal, but not an honor”. If any other presidential candidate had won, this petition would not exist.  

I respect the rumored decision to allow students to opt-out of the performance, but what are the consequences of this decision?  Band members should not be concerned about the consequences of choosing to perform or stay home. I support allowing students to participate while displaying a to-be-determined symbol of unity.  But, choosing to participate in Trump's inauguration sends a message, on a national stage, that Marist is willing to look the other way just to get some national exposure.  What message does this decision send to students and parents concerned about additional retaliatory hate crimes and bias incidents on campus?  

I would like to strongly emphasize that this petition does not have a political motivation, rather it is about our values as an institution. Colleges and universities are places where people are supposed to learn, discover, build sense a community, and understand the global world. These values are important to shaping one’s life. Colleges and Universities have a moral duty to ensure that they are instilling these values into their students. Included in this is taking a stand against a leader who has alienated every major minority group around the world including women, the LGBTQ community, and people of color. While we need to respect that he is President, we should not condone his behavior or abuse and discriminatory and derogatory language.

I acknowledge that the band’s performance is considered by some to be a non-partisan celebration of American peace and democracy. However, performing in honor of a transition to this administration in particular, and claiming that such a performance is apolitical, suggests to us that you are ambivalent about the experiences of those who have been targeted, both on the Marist Campus and nationally, by the hatred and fear inspired by the President-elect’s rhetoric. Celebrating a transition to this administration celebrates an election which overrode the votes of millions, and a candidate who regularly advocates for hateful, not peaceful, behavior.  

There is a growing number of petitions in response to other organizations that have decided to participate in the 2017 inauguration.  The “regulars” performing from the D.C. area are notably absent this year.  If Marist College chooses to participate, I am concerned that this association will damage Marist’s good name.  

I understand that, at this time, you are standing by your decision to participate in the 2017 inauguration.  I hope that you will take our concerns to heart and reconsider this decision.  

Thank you for your time,

Jennifer Hoffman
Marist College Alumni, 2003
Twitter: @PetitionMarist

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