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Former band member disappointed in Ohio State for using suggestive calendar against Waters

A photo of the cover page from a 2007 calendar university officials found in the office of former OSU Marching Band director Jonathan Waters, depicting semi-nude male band members in seductive poses. The page reads, ‘For Jon Waters’ eyes only.’ Credit: Court records
A photo from a 2007 calendar university officials found in the office of former OSU Marching Band director Jonathan Waters, depicting semi-nude male band members in seductive poses. Credit: Court records
A photo from a 2007 calendar university officials found in the office of former OSU Marching Band director Jonathan Waters, depicting semi-nude male band members in seductive poses. Credit: Court records
A photo from a 2007 calendar university officials found in the office of former OSU Marching Band director Jonathan Waters, depicting semi-nude male band members in seductive poses. Credit: Court records
A photo from a 2007 calendar university officials found in the office of former OSU Marching Band director Jonathan Waters, depicting semi-nude male band members in seductive poses. Credit: Court records
A photo from a 2007 calendar university officials found in the office of former OSU Marching Band director Jonathan Waters, depicting semi-nude male band members in seductive poses. Credit: Court records

A former Ohio State marching band member who was pictured in a suggestive pose on a calendar OSU officials found in former band director Jonathan Waters’ office said he’s disappointed in the university for using it as legal defense.

The  2007 calendar found in Waters’ office depicted mostly nude photos of male band members in suggestive positions. Students posed with instruments and other band propaganda and in at least one case, a male band member was shown with only a small marching band flag covering his genitals.

Jonathan Picking, a 2007 OSU Marching Band assistant squad leader, was one of the authors of the male calendar, according to a Friday release from TBDBITL Alumni Band. He said the calendar was satirical.

“The absurdity of seeing me and my fellow band members in these poses merely reflects the absurd objectification of women present in similar calendars plastered in dorms and bars across campus,” he said in the release.

He added that it was intended to point out the ridiculousness of those calendars, and was given as a joke to Waters.

“This calendar simultaneously critiques gender-based discrimination and invites any inappropriate comments to fall on us — males, who have been the inadvertent beneficiaries of a patriarchal society,” Picking said.

OSU filed a motion in federal court Wednesday to dismiss and respond to the lawsuit Waters brought against the university. The university also filed new evidence, which it said included the calendar and highly sexualized videos that were shown to the band during an annual event called “Fesler Night,” when newly selected band members were introduced to current members, staff and traditions.

OSU said Waters was terminated July 24 because he knew of a problematic, sexually charged culture in the marching band and didn’t address the problems, according to a Thursday release.

Picking said he didn’t think the calendar contributed to a sexual culture in the band.

“It is disappointing that Ohio State has willfully misconstrued this calendar as somehow contributing to sexual misconduct,” he said. “OSU literally implies that juvenile humor is evidence or a source of serious sexual misconduct.”

OSU spokesman Chris Davey did not immediately respond to a request for comment asking if the men featured on the calendar were notified that it would be used in court.

Picking also said the calendar was a way to make himself more relatable to the other members of the band. As a leader, he said he could be intimidating to incoming members, so he wanted to eliminate any trepidation.

“(I) worked constantly to make myself accessible and be supportive to each and every member of my row. The calendar specifically contributed to this goal by making me the butt of the joke,” he said. “If a first-year member saw that I was not quite in the formation, I needed to create an environment where that individual felt comfortable giving that feedback.”

Waters — who filed a lawsuit Sept. 26 in the U.S. District Court against OSU and two of its officials — said the university discriminated against him on the basis of gender. He also said OSU did not provide him with due process after the investigation into the band found that he was aware of or reasonably should have been aware of the sexualized culture.

Waters said he will sue for a minimum of $1 million in compensatory damages in addition to seeking punitive damages, attorney fees and reinstatement.

Former Ohio Attorney General and Board of Regents chancellor Jim Petro signed onto Waters’ legal team to assist in the effort.

54 comments

  1. Out of the Box, first, I would like to know why you classify the TBDBITL report as a “report.” It was prepared by several distinguished alumni, among them the first female drum major and a former president of the Ohio Bar association. Unlike the Glaros report, everything was carefully documented. What about this has earned your sarcasm?
    Also, you are assuming that what happened within the band was indeed hazing. It was not. It was juvenile behavior, sometimes, but I heard Jon Waters with my own ears before he was even director give a stern speech to the new band that everyone has a choice to participate with what they wish to participate in, and that if anyone was given one ounce of trouble, to come to him immediately and directly.
    Now, while there was not hazing, some of the band’s traditions were on the juvenile side. Jon Waters was working a great deal to eliminate or tone these down, to the point where the students were calling him “the fun police.” Really, the more I think about your response, the more it is clear that you probably don’t know what you think you know, which is understandable, as OSU has gone out of its way to humiliate not only Jon but the alums and the varsity band. I invite you to read ALL of the TBDBITL report (not just “most”), as well as the excellent statement from Jon Picking, who was involved with the “Boys of T” parody calendar.
    Finally, “The University has twice offered Waters an opportunity to walk away with his reputation intact. Twice he has turned them down, acting instead out of some belief that he is entitled to the position of band director.” This is incorrect as well as demonstrative of someone who doesn’t really know Jon Waters. OSU smeared him from the second this started by releasing the Glaros Report, which was clearly outcome-based, and by even making the accusation that he presided over a “sexualized culture,” which I assure you from personal experience he did not. He was not given a chance to even look at the Glaros report. He was not permitted a name-clearing hearing. What would you do if your employer very publicly fired you from a job from which you’d received excellent reviews, then smeared you and everyone connected with your work? Would you just slink off into a corner and say “Oh, well”? Please do not blame the victim here.
    Finally, no one truly loved Ohio State or had a greater appreciation for the band than Jon Waters. After interacting with him a great deal, I never saw him act as if he was entitled to his position. Ever. He was a humble servant of Ohio State and TBDBITL, and this is how his alma mater is repaying him: Slander and violating the FERPA rights and human dignity of his students.

  2. Appropriate Action

    Wait a minute…understanding your loyalty to the band and it’s former director…but failing to understand your goal. Is is for the admin to cave and reinstate Waters? That’s clearly not going to happen. Is it to provide documentation so that Waters can win his lawsuit and be awarded justice in the form of a monetary settlement? I guess we’ll let the judge decide about that. I’m doubtful the university will lose on this but you never know. Imagining a negative outcome in court for Waters…what will your next move be?

  3. Peter and HWGA- Obviously we run in different circles. Thank GOD, because your circles seem far too uptight and closed-minded, not to mention being the human equivalent of lemmings running off a cliff.

  4. These are totally inappropriate.

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