March On

With low funds preventing the Cal Band from attending two away games, the university should open its wallet.

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Cal Band great! While that statement isn't up for contention, the university's decision to not do anything else while funding for the University of California Marching Band runs low is questionable.

For at least the past two decades, the band has been the Cal football team's loyal travel buddy, following them from rival school to rival school to "Fight for California." But the brass and bass has been noticeably absent at away games this season, limited by high travel costs and a low budget.

Like other completely student-run groups on the Berkeley campus, the Cal Band's lack of dependence on the university makes the organization unique compared to other college marching bands. And indeed, the band has been proud of being self-sufficient.

But as the economic crunch drowns out the band's melody, it's up to the university to transpose its sad song into a major key. Granted, the band has already received $20,000 from Cal Athletics and $70,000 from the campus, an 8 percent decrease from last year. But it's clearly still not enough.

The remaining amount that would cover the travel expenses is probably affordable for the university. Considering that band members are already willing to pay for a portion of the fees, the least the school can do is shell out the rest from its discretionary funds.

The band has always been at the center of Cal culture. It's undoubtedly welcoming to hear "All Hail Blue and Gold" in the middle of a sea of unfamiliar school colors, and a simple tune can go a long way to boost morale and build spirit.

As traditional representatives of UC Berkeley away from home, the marching band ought to be at away football games. Otherwise, Saturdays just aren't the same without the "Big 'C'" blaring from the stands.

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