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Marching band, compliance office employee files show inconsistent reviews

Left to right: Gates Garrity-Rokous, Christopher Hoch, Michael Smith Credit: Courtesy of OSU

Left to right: Gates Garrity-Rokous, Christopher Hoch, Michael Smith
Credit: Courtesy of OSU

While Ohio State policy states all employees must receive a performance review annually, an OSU spokesman said in the spring that written reviews are one part of the process.

But inconsistencies when it comes to performance reviews were apparent in the employment files of some marching band and compliance office employees, one of whom received a bonus without a written review in his file.

OSU’s chief compliance officer received a $78,000 bonus this year without a written performance review. And the employment file of the assistant band director under former marching band director Jonathan Waters didn’t include a performance review either, while the file of the associate band director did.

According to an OSU human resources performance review policy, “all employees must receive a performance review at least once a year.”

University spokesman Gary Lewis said during Spring Semester that written reviews are one component of evaluating employee performance at OSU.

“Although it is required for all employees to receive reviews, performance management at Ohio State also involves a continuous process of feedback and mentoring, which includes verbal and written reviews,” Lewis said in an email. “All elements of performance review, verbal and written, are key inputs in determining compensation.”

He said, though, because the university was in a period of transition between presidents, the performance review process was adjusted.

“This year’s process for performance reviews of senior leaders was one in transition. Because every senior leader participates in the ongoing, annual review process, all leaders expect to receive helpful coaching and feedback. The university remains committed to a constructive review process that helps us achieve our institutional goals and provides every employee with the tools to excel in his or her professional objectives,” he said.

Employment file of chief compliance officer

Vice president and chief compliance officer Gates Garrity-Rokous earned a $397,800 base salary for fiscal year 2014 — which included a 2 percent raise.

He also received a 20 percent bonus, worth $78,000, according to his employment file, which was provided Tuesday after The Lantern requested it in mid-August. The page about his bonus in that file notes that his “target is 20 percent; max of 25 percent for achieving significant performance beyond established targets.”

He was hired in September 2012. 

Garrity-Rokous deferred requests for comment to OSU spokesmen Gary Lewis and Chris Davey, who did not respond to the initial email that asked Garrity-Rokous for comment about his receiving a bonus without a written review in his employment file.

His file did not include a written performance review outside of a self-evaluation and goal-setting document. When asked where his review was, Lauren Lubow, director of the OSU public records office, said in an email Garrity-Rokous “had an oral review based on the self-evaluation and goal-setting document, so there are no additional records of his review.”

Davey said Tuesday evening that he will look into who conducted that oral review and when. He was still looking into those questions as of Wednesday evening.

The Lantern requested Garrity-Rokous’ file after former Title IX coordinator Andrea Goldblum said she took issue with the way some business in the compliance office was handled. She expressed those concerns after a new Title IX coordinator was hired, shortly before former marching band director Jonathan Waters was fired as a result of an OSU investigation conducted by the compliance office. 

That investigation found the marching band contained a sexualized culture that the former director was either aware of or reasonably should have been aware of, and was led by one of Garrity-Rokous’ subordinates in the compliance office, Chris Glaros. The Lantern requested Glaros’ employment file Wednesday.

Goldblum’s formal complaint about gender and disability discrimination in the compliance office — obtained by The Lantern in late August — and its ensuing investigation in April found that there was insufficient evidence to support her claims. The investigation did, however, find that Garrity-Rokous had asked subordinates to run errands for him and drive him to meetings. Those practices stopped after an employee told him they were inappropriate. He also apologized.

That investigation report into Goldblum’s claims was not included within his employment file. Davey said Tuesday he would look into why it was left out and was still looking into that question as of Wednesday evening.

Employment files of associate, assistant band directors

Christopher Hoch, the associate marching band director, was hired by OSU in July 2012, while Michael Smith, the assistant band director, was hired by the university in September 2012. But Smith’s employment file did not contain any reviews, while Hoch’s contained a 2013-14 review conducted by Waters.

Those files were provided Tuesday after having been requested July 25.

Smith appears to have started as assistant director of the band in August 2013, when he earned a $50,000 salary, though the previous year he also worked with the band as a lecturer.

Hoch earned $60,000 in 2013, up from earning $45,000 as an assistant director the year before.

Waters’ review of Hoch was not particularly complimentary — Waters said Hoch achieved expectations (of five possible choices, “achieves expectations” is in the middle) in four of five categories and fell below expectations in the final category, leadership.

“I would like for Chris to be more collaborative with respect to halftime show duties. In the past, this activity has been more competitive than what I would like. In addition, I need for Chris to be more fully engaged and collaborative with all staff, including student staff,” Waters wrote in one category.

Waters also noted that Hoch had seemed resistant to the band using iPads, a practice implemented in part to save the band printing costs and one that helped lead to halftime shows that went viral.

Waters wrote that Hoch needed to take a “lead role” on the band’s efforts to “evolve and embrace innovation.”

“I suggest that Chris review his job description and attempt to operationalize each of the duties,” Waters wrote. “With the majority of the band staff being student employees, the organization needs its full-time staff to be engaged in every element.”

Lubow said Tuesday after business hours that she was checking on why no reviews were included for Smith. She did not respond to a Wednesday email requesting an update.

Waters was fired July 24. Since his dismissal, Waters and his attorney have made multiple public appearances and submitted a letter asking OSU to consider rehiring him. President Michael Drake and the Board of Trustees, however, have declined to reconsider his case.

Waters announced Sept. 26 that he plans to sue the university for a minimum of $1 million in compensatory damages. He will also seek punitive damages, attorney fees and reinstatement. His lawsuit claims he was not given due process following the initial cultural investigation. It also says he was discriminated against on the basis of gender.



  1. Wow. Just when I thought I could not be more disappointed in OSU after the unfortunate and unsubstantiated firing of Jon Waters.

    Unbelievable that some VP is making close to 1/2 million dollars a year with the bonus…..and the position has nothing to do with education per se.

    If I were wealthy and had OSU listed as a beneficiary in my will, I would soon be deleting them, given the mismanagement that appears to be a real problem at this institution.

    Good reporting!

  2. This just gets worse and worse. First a totally specious “report” is contrived just so the University appears to have a justification for firing Waters in order to grovel to the Department of Education, and now this. The head of the office that fired him first abuses his employees and uses them like errand boys, and then gets a $78,000 bonus without any written performance evaluation. The in,ayes have truly taken over the asylum.

  3. “The inmates have truly taken over the asylum”.

  4. Mad props to The Lantern for this investigative journalism!

  5. Interesting that staff are required to receive written evaluations each year just to get a 1-2% increase but it is not required for someone in his position.

  6. Garrity-Rokous had a 360 degree review and a number of employees around campus were asked to provide feedback. Were those included in his personnel file? Doesn’t seem like it. Why not? Maybe there were “issues”

  7. Interestingly the Salary.com website says that “the median expected annual pay for a typical College President in the United States is $253,823,” yet OSU pays its chief compliance officer a $397,800 base salary plus a $78,000 bonus! Is it any wonder that tuition costs have skyrocketed?

  8. I wouldn’t take the ‘middle of the road’ review for Hoch at face value. Waters was forced to middle line everyone he reviewed to meet management’s bell curve for cost of living increases. I am verbally told I am an excellent staff member, but budgets need to be met so therefore I am a ‘meets expectations’ kinda gal for budget purposes. Glad I continue to help fund bloated, inept middle management.

    Good job to The Lantern to stay on this. There is a deeper story here.

  9. The compliance officer is out of compliance…really, no review?!

  10. I am reading this in shock! Fire Gates Garrity-Rokous! My taxes don’t want to pay this man’s salary.

  11. And good reporting Lantern staff!

  12. I think Dr.Chris Hoch with his advanced degree and years of service could be making more in the public schools.

  13. Why does it take from July 25 til now to get the requested files? Wonder what else has been requested and is on long delay by the university?

  14. Middle-aged white guys running the world.

  15. Sound right that a bad review would be given to the creator of the shows that propelled him to national prominence…class act.

  16. When I was a student at Ohio State, I was proud of the University and ashamed of The Lantern. Now those two things are reversed. My, how times have changed. Great work on this piece and thank you for continuing to uncover the truth about this story. I’ve never seen a situation handled so poorly by the University. It’s sad what this University’s Compliance Office, Administration and Board of Trustees have done to the Marching Band, its Alumni and Director. Through his leadership, Jon Waters gave the Marching Band and the University more national fame and fundraising opportunity than it has seen in a long time. His strong leadership is being missed by the current band students and by the over 4,000 alumni members.

  17. So a man making almost half a million dollars made staff run errands for him and drive him around, until an employee told him it was wrong? And he got a bonus that was probably more than a lot of his staff probably make in a year? REALLY?!

  18. I concur with Bill. Dr. Hoch – the real brain behind the change in the band’s halftime shows – was apparently still viewed by Waters as a threat, based on this performance evaluation. Makes one wonder how Waters, someone lacking a doctorate degree, was hired over more qualified and talented candidates…

  19. The compliance officer’s salary is ridiculously high. The Lantern should start listing what others make as this is eye-opening. It wouldn’t have been imagined in the ’60s when state taxes and tuitions were considerably lower that ANYONE on the college level would ever make such stratospheric salaries. Was there even positions such as a compliance officers then? I doubt it. I’d like to know what’s so complicated about the job that commands that kind of money? Happening to notice the kids in the band were doing what most college kids have done for eons, being a bit risque? Please.

  20. “Outstanding reporting by the Lantern” Sounds like the compliance officers need to be fired, and they can take that so called PRESIDENT with them, the board must really be scrapping the bottom of the barrel to find qualified people to help run our University. If they just wanted a yes man in the president’s office I’m sure they could have found one at a more reasonable salary. What a shame to run a great university like ours into the garbage can like this. It will take us years to rebuild what they have destroyed in such a short time.

  21. How do I get a job in the compliance office? I’d love to have a job where I’m charged with investigating other people’s work while only having to file self evaluations to achieve massive bonuses and have total job security!

    Here’s my pre-hire self evaluation, I exceed all my expectations, love having subordinates do meanial and demeaning tasks, and am a giant tool. I’m obviously perfect for the job and deserve a half million dollar salary!

  22. yep. the bureaucrats are running the place. I get calls all the time to donate money. Starting my own biz….will be lucky to make 10% of what the compliance officer does—-but yet they want my money. Show me the value–this bunch brings.

  23. This guy should be fire and his replacement should make about 60% less. The state of Ohio is not in the business of giving mid-level bureaucrats a title and making them independently wealthy.

  24. When I was at OSU, all supervisors were required to provide a written review for all their employees. This was certainly true for department chairs and the faculty members who reported to them. I wasn’t a department chair, but I also had to provide written annual reviews for some instructional staff I technically “supervised”. Administrators are exempt from this rule? I hope the Lantern will continue to have the courage to look into this sort of shenanigans. It smells pretty bad.

  25. So there was a 360 review of Garrity-Rokous and it was not in his personnel file? Why not? Where is it? Seems very fishy to me. Either it was not provided because it was bad or it was kept somewhere else or called something else so that it wasn’t responsive to the pubic records request from the Lantern in August. Or they scrambled to hide it.

    How can the university justify a bonus that is more than the majority of staff at OSU make in a year? Not to mention the based salary? Does his supervisor or the Board of Trustees only know what he tells them in his own self-evaluation? Yet he supervised staff that messed up the Band investigation and he caused the Title IX Coordinator to quit.

  26. Not that I excuse Dr. Drake from any shenanigans in this situation – he is, and was, the titular head of the university when the decision to fire Mr. Waters was made. However, with regard to the hiring of executives whose bonuses and base salaries are abjectly heinous, most of these folks were hired by E. Gordon Gee, and approved by Boards of Trustees, who are not exactly middle-class or blue-collar by any stretch of the imagination. I would like to see a complete overhaul of the board, and upper-level management. Salaries are public record and a searchable database can be found for Ohio State here: http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/datacenter/datacenter-osu-salaries-2012.html. More people – especially alumni and staff – need to stop being quiet, and voice their concerns. We are no longer an educational institution, b/c our first line of business isn’t students anymore. And it shames me to my core.

  27. I had to respond to some of the information in the story, about the complaint I filed against Gates and Chris Glaros. I let AJ Douglass, VP for HR, and Alison Mincey, Assoc. VP., know that staff in the Compliance Office lied in the investigation of my complaint. I told them specifically who lied and how. It included one of the staff saying she had not done personal errands for Gates, even though other staff confirmed that she had. They refused to investigate staff lying in a discrimination investigation. Here is the response they gave me, totally skating the issue of the lying, which was subsequent to my original complaint: “Thank you for meeting with myself and Alison Mincey to discuss your personnel concerns, which we have determined have been raised by you previously and investigated appropriately pursuant to University-established protocol. I hope you can understand that we do not intend to revisit your personnel issues. Accordingly, we continue to consider the matters raised by you in your discussion with us closed from our perspective.”

    So OSU leadership is supporting Gates and Chris and the culture of the Compliance Office.

  28. Better and better. Now the Office of Compliance is caught in a blatant lie but, of course, skate around the issue by simply saying they are “moving on”. And doesn’t the University now claim that Waters was fired for not being truthful? Seems to me Mr. Gates-Rokos and most of his staff should, according to that criterion, be clearing out their offices by now.

  29. Hmmm is right. in 2013 Gates had a 360 review, where staff in the Compliance Office, as well as people above, equal to and below him provided feedback. It might have been for AJ Douglass who at the time was a “Coach” for Gee and other higher ups. Some in Compliance were afraid to respond to the review, fearing retaliation. But some did respond and rated his skills as very poor. So did others across campus, whom he regularly offended. I wonder where all of those responses are?

  30. Andrea…..really appreciate your courage and revealing responses.When the administration used Title lX as their weapon of choice,they started something that is doing its own 360.I hope they make depositions in the court case public..Also,the amount of money being spent by Drake and the BOT is public funding to be spent on students and programs.We are investigating the investigations (Montgomery is an old friend BOT member Davidson) .The compliance group is the latest blip on the Newton Third Law radar screen.The degregation of my alma mater continues. There doesn’t seem to be much leadership talent at Ohio State presently.

  31. ric allwood: Although there is huge risk in my speaking out, I just want people to know the truth instead of all of the BS rhetoric and lies. It needs to be out there. Keeping it quiet or hidden only allows it to continue unchecked. I let Betty Montgomery know about all of this and much, much more. I will be interested to see what is found in her investigation. I certainly hope it is being done with integrity, but we will see….

  32. Thank you Andrea.

  33. kudos to the Latern for shining alight on this rat’s nest that isthe OSU administratIon!

    Perhaps you could investigate exactly what Garrity-Rokos does to earn his money? And exactly what knowledge he has that differentiates him from compliance officials that earn $80-120K?

    And if I recall correctly, Garrity-Rokos could not answer specific questions about the university’s investigative report because he was not intimately involved. So exactly what does he do?

    Wish I was Jon Waters’ attorney. They are going to have a field day examining this over-paid gang who don’t know what time it is!

  34. Reading this, I am most saddened for the current students of tOSU who will be saddled with years or decades of loan debt for their education, while incompetent clowns like this live champaign lifestyles.

  35. Inconsistent reviews or no reviews and bonus are rampant throughout all of OSU. This has been institutional practice for a long time. You look in other offices you will find the exact same thing. The lantern reported on this as well, these two areas are not unique. It’s really ridiculous.

  36. The Lantern is doing an excellent job in covering various issues lately. It seems quite a difference from just a few short years ago.

    I commend Ms. Goldblum for using her real name. She is right about “speaking out.” For anyone reading these comments, I refer you to the recent work of social psychologist Philip Zimbardo, particularly “The Lucifer Effect” and “The Heroic Imagination Project.”

    Ms. Goldblum, if you wish to bury the hatchet, please email me. Perhaps the past was more of a misunderstanding than I thought.

    Karl Spaulding (.10@osu.edu)

  37. Karl: Thanks, there are no hatchets to bury.

  38. Andrea, thank you very much then.

    Feel free to contact me if I can possibly be of any small help.


  39. To Shari Vari

    Jonathan Waters was hired to be the Band Director of TBDBITL because he is extremely talented and totally dedicated to excellence….
    He is THE spirit of OSU and that is why most of the general public and all the former alumnae and the current band members want him leading.
    I know Jon personally and he is one of the finest,personable young men with extemely high principles and strong leadership skills you will meet.
    THANKYOU to the LANTERN for getting some truth out……
    Let’s have more truth…….
    Thanks. JILL

  40. Many thanks to the LANTERN for a job well done. I speak for thousands of alums who continue to be tremendously angry over the inappropriate firing of Jon Waters, and even more frustrated to learn of the sorry situation in the OSU Compliance Office.
    Letters of response to my complaint letters sent to President Drake and each of the BOT members came approximately 6 weeks after my letters were sent. Of no surprise was the similarity in their woefully inadequate and generic excuses, as well as the referral to the osu.edu/bandculture website, which just reinforced how poorly the university reacted to a poorly researched and highly inaccurate report.
    Perhaps Garrity-Rokos could earn some of his ridiculously high salary by taking note of the unsolicited comments from hundreds of people who were actually involved with the band, all the while fetching his own coffee. I think further investigation will show that it should have been him and not Jon Waters who was fired.
    Also, many thanks also to Andrea Goldblum for speaking up as she did. She is another excellent example of what a good and decent university employee has been and should continue to be.
    Keep up the solid reporting.

  41. So let’s get this straight (so to speak). It appears the compliance office is a fan of oral, but the marching band is the one that gets in trouble for an alleged sexualized culture?

  42. Buckeye in the West

    When I was a student, at Ohio State, I did not think much of The Lantern. It was free, provided local and local news, a crossword, comics, sports, etc. For investigative reporting, I went to the Journalism Building and read The New York Times.

    I think, The Lantern, has changed for the better. They are aggressively going after this story. They are even “scooping” the local media, in the process. The Lantern never let this story die, since Jon Waters was fired. They kept at it.

    Keep up the work, Lantern, continue digging hard for the truth. The OSU Administration and Board of Trustees believe they have their own fiefdom, and can hide in their ivory tower. Yes, Lantern hit hard, and keep digging.

    By the time the Jon Waters lawsuit goes to trial, there may be more people defending themselves. alumni, like me, will be helping to restore the reputation of Ohio State, the band, and the school with a new Board of Trustees and Administration.

  43. Great job Lantern. Continue to spread the light of truth on the darkness of deceit. Please look into the ‘midnight’ practice. It is my understanding it was approved by the University Police Department AND that there was a University Police presence in the stadium when this took place. Midnight practice. Hmmmmm – lights were turned on AND the video board was on. Who has access to these things? Who approved it? There is a great deal of cost in turning those lights on. Athletic Department approval? A VERY hard look needs to be taken at Gene Smith! I believe he is a key ‘player’ in this whole mess. He should be a prime candidate for termination. “If he didn’t know about it, he should have.”
    I am seriously considering redirecting my financial support to ‘that school up north’. I WILL be using my influence as an educator to discourage high school students from considering attending Ohio State if and until this scandal is positively resolved in favor of the Ohio State Marching Band AND Director, Jon Waters.
    The President of the University was influenced to make the decision he did. Who ‘encouraged’ him to make this decision? Who REALLY started this whole scandal? Who are the REAL ‘players’? What is their REAL motive? CYA? The light of truth MUST shine. Unfortunately, right now darkness and deceit prevails.

  44. Buckeye in the West

    If you read this month Ohio State Monthly (Alumni Magazine), Archie Griffin fully supports the decision to fire Jon Waters, accepts the Glaros reports as truth and effectively told alumni to move on. MEanwhile, he directed alumni groups from contacting alumni concerning the entire incident, under penalty of losing affiliation. Add Mr. Griffin, with Gene Smith and President Drake. Plus, the inept compliance office and Board of Trustees.

  45. I recomend you look up Andrea’s salary too. She made way more than the average administrator..

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