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.