If you have ever had the privilege to attend an Ohio State football game, you will most certainly have been impressed by the fans, product on the field and the marching band. The dotting of the ‘i’ has to be one of the coolest traditions in the country. Unfortunately, we have learned that Ohio State has fired their Band Director Jonathan Waters and is investigating what is being referred to as a sexualized culture within the organization.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, Ohio State fired Waters, after a university investigation found a cascade of evidence that students in the band routinely harassed one another –– often directed from older students to newcomers –– and that Waters ignored complaints about those traditions. Even more, investigators discovered that Waters knew of these actions and allowed them to continue. The report also found that he mishandled a report that one band member sexually assaulted another: Waters tried to discipline the female victim along with the male student, but Ohio State reversed the decision.
Ohio State is reporting that officials urged Waters to take training on federal sexual-discrimination rules, but he never did.
OSU President, Dr. Michael Drake shared,
“We need to have a safe and supportive environment for our students,” he said in an interview. “ We care about what is happening when we are looking, but we also care about what is happening when we are not looking, and our leaders have a responsibility to set that standard and to enforce it.”
While the Marching Band has a reputation of being one of the if not the best band in the country, we cannot ignore the safety of our students, no matter the cost. Let this be a lesson for all the other band directors that they can take their ‘sport’ seriously but never at the expense of jeopardizing or placing their students in uncompromising situations.
You can read the Investigation Report against Jonathan Waters, OSU Marching Band Director.
Courtesy of The Columbus Dispatch, Marching Band Performance