Jonathan Waters, 38, has been director since 2012 and was assistant and then interim director for 10 years before that
COLUMBUS -- Ohio State University has fired its band director for allowing a deep culture of sexual harassment.
Jonathan Waters, 38, has been director since 2012 and was assistant and then interim director for 10 years before that.
An internal investigation revealed examples of abuse, including an annual midnight practice in which band members were expected to march wearing only underwear.
WARNING EXPLICIT CONTENT: Read the investigation report
Other examples included new band members being given sexually explicit nicknames and being forced to perform "tricks" on command, such as simulating sex acts.
An unofficial songbook with raunchy lyrics to other schools' songs was included as part of evidence.
There have also been allegations of alcohol abuse among band members that Waters apparently did not address.
Waters' attorney David F. Axelrod said, "Jonathan was given the choice by school officials to either resign or be fired by 6 p.m. on Wednesday. He chose not to because he feels that he has done nothing wrong."
ATTORNEY'S NEWS RELEASE: Jon Waters' attorney releases statement
"We obviously disagree with the report. We are planning our next move. We are not sure what that is at the moment."
"Jonathan wants to defends his good name. He is an alumni of Ohio State and he bleeds scarlet and gray."
Axelrod said he just saw the completed report this morning, and he did not have a chance to interview any of the parties that were questioned.
Since Waters took over in 2012, the band has risen to national acclaim, including appearing in a television ad for the iPad.
"Nothing is more important than the safety of our students," said The Ohio State University President Michael Drake. "We expect every member of our community to live up to a common standard of decency and mutual respect and to adhere to university policies."
A statement from the university continued:
Moving forward, we must abide by a zero tolerance policy at the University—both with the Marching Band and the entire campus community—for any behavior that creates a hostile culture at Ohio State. I view this as a new day and an opportunity for the Ohio State community to come together and embrace the values and behavior that have made this University great."
In addition to changing the leadership of the Marching Band, the University immediately has taken additional steps to ensure that change is swift and impactful. This begins with the appointment of Betty Montgomery, former Ohio Attorney General, to lead an independent task force, reporting directly to President Drake and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, to review this matter in its entirety. This task force will include nationally-recognized experts:
- Ernst & Young, which will conduct an investigatory review.
- Sports Conflict Institute, which will conduct an independent review of the Ohio State Band culture.
- Outside counsel to provide guidance on Title IX compliance.
At this time, the Ohio State Marching Band season will continue under new leadership and steps are being taken to swiftly identify an interim band director. Additional training and guidance will be developed with new band leadership to create a proper culture, and nurturing environment.
July 24, 2014: Jonathan Waters, 38, has been director since 2012 and was assistant and then interim director for 10 years before that. WKYC-TV