A Statement from Cayuga’s Waiters Alumni

May 2, 2017

Cayuga’s Waiters Alumni and our Advisory Board stand with Cornell University in condemning hazing in all its forms. Our alumni were shocked and saddened when the allegations against group members came to light. The incidents in question largely represent the actions of a few former members, who have been expelled from Cayuga’s Waiters Alumni. We appreciate the University’s direct response to these actions, however, we remain concerned about the following issues:

● Over a number of years, group members reached out to Cornell leaders directly and through its official hazing reporting channels for help in changing group culture. Those requests went unanswered.
● The judicial process punished on-campus group members who were themselves victims of hazing, and who had to defend themselves at great expense and under emotional distress.
● Cayuga’s Waiters, the Advisory Board, and Cornell administrators were working on a plan set forth by Cornell to get the group back on track when the initial disciplinary finding was appealed and overturned by request of the Judicial Administrator’s Office.

It is important to note that Cayuga’s Waiters Alumni are not denying the allegations of hazing, but rather seek to rebuild the group after proportional discipline. Last fall, Cayuga’s Waiters Alumni and the Advisory Board put forward a disciplinary plan that included a lengthy suspension for the on-campus group, development of new governance structures in partnership with Cornell, and reinstatement of the on-campus group under supervision of the Advisory Board. To date, Cornell has refused this outreach. Cayuga’s Waiters Alumni still hope to implement such a plan in partnership with Cornell.

For nearly 70 years, Cayuga’s Waiters have been the soundtrack to the shared experience of Cornell students. Throughout this difficult time, fans across the decades have told us that they can’t imagine Cornell without Cayuga’s Waiters. Singing along with the group is #4 on the list of 161 things all Cornellians must do as students. Our whole purpose for existence is to celebrate Cornell in song, as students and as alumni. We hope to continue that mission as loyal alumni and, at some future point, back on Cornell’s campus “Far above Cayuga’s waters.” If this is how the song ends for Cayuga’s Waiters, we would like music, fun, and pride in the shared Cornell experience to be our lasting legacy.

Nat Comisar
Advisory Board of Cayuga’s Waiters Alumni


Our Memories

What our fans say

I have fond memories of singing with the Waiters and consider them to be one of the most iconic groups on campus.

Rachel Waiter Fan

The quality of their musicianship, combined with their terrific wit, brought so much joy to me and others on campus

Melissa Waiter Fan

…a tradition deeply embedded in the minds of Cornell Alumni throughout the globe.  I’d be hard pressed to find an Alumnus who didn’t have The Cayuga’s Waiters on their list of “All Things Cornell”.

Kristen Waiter Fan

Some of my fondest memories were to sing with the Waiters …. or see them perform live in Bailey or Statler Hall. They are one of those traditions that I look back on with fondness and a smile!

Lisa Waiter Fan

About Cayuga’s Waiters

Cayuga's Waiters formed as a 12-voice subset of the Cornell University Glee Club in 1949--a so-called "triple quartet"--and debuted at the Glee Club's 1950 Junior Week concert. The name was chosen as a play on the first line of Cornell's alma mater. The Waiters have been international ambassadors for Cornell. They have performed in Bonaire, St. Maarten, Barbados, The Canary Islands, Puerto Rico, Walt Disney World, Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Westminster in London, and The White House. The group also appeared on television several times, including the Perry Como Show in 1953, The CBS Early Show in 2008, and singing the US national anthem before a Los Angeles Kings hockey game in 2010.

In 1974, the Waiters performed their first "Spring Fever" concert. Now a Cornell institution, the show has sold out the 1,300 seats in Bailey Hall for more than of 35 years. In the mid-1990s, the Waiters wrote a parody of the Billy Joel song "We Didn't Start the Fire" titled "We Didn't Go To Harvard." Essentially a list of things, places, and traditions unique to Cornell, the song is updated regularly to reflect changes to the Cornell student experience. Singing along to the song with the Waiters is #4 on The Cornell Daily Sun's list of "161 Things Every Cornellian Should Do," ahead of other hallowed traditions such as sledding down Libe Slope (#5) and attending Dragon Day (#33). Since 1953, the Waiters have recorded 25 albums. In 2000, shortly after its 50th anniversary, the group made archival recordings of its albums. Alumni stay connected through its dedicated alumni networking website called - thewaitertradition.com.

Nat Comisar
Advisory Board of Cayuga’s Waiters Alumni