Ohio State fires marching band director over 'sexualized' culture

Thursday July 24th, 2014

Jonathan Waters, the director of Ohio State's marching band, has been fired amid an internal investigation that revealed a "sexualized" culture among band members, the university announced Thursday.

The investigation, which began in May, was prompted by a complaint from a parent of a band member.

From a 23-page report posted by The Columbus Dispatch detailing the findings of the investigation:

On May 23, 2014, a parent of a Marching Band member visited the Office of University Compliance and Integrity and reported that she had concerns about whether the Marching Band’s culture was sexualized, and stated that its members were made to swear secrecy oaths about objectionable traditions and customs.

The report says examples of abuse included band members posing in sexual positions on bus rides and a practice of marching at midnight wearing only underwear. The report also says new band members were assigned obscene nicknames.

The investigation determined that Waters, 38, was aware of the culture but "failed to eliminate it, prevent its recurrence and address its effects."

Here is part of the statement Ohio State released Thursday:

"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.

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."

The Ohio State marching band has earned national acclaim for its extravagant halftime performances, including one during a game against Penn State last October in which members formed the outline of a dinosaur.


More: Ohio State AD confident NCAA will approve Power Five autonomy

- Chris Johnson

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