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Jonathan Waters will look for another job

Former OSU Marching Band director directs the alumni band during Sept. 13's game against Kent State. Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editor

Former OSU Marching Band director Jonathan Waters directs the alumni band during a Sept. 13 football game against Kent State.
Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editor

Fired Ohio State Marching Band director Jonathan Waters will start searching for a new job, his lawyer told The Lantern on Tuesday afternoon.

Attorney David Axelrod said Waters has not been offered another position since he was terminated July 24. He was fired after an OSU investigation found that the marching band contained a sexualized culture that Waters was either aware of or reasonably should have been aware of, but did not do enough to stop.

“Jon has not received any offers and he will aggressively pursue other work,” Axelrod said. He added, however, this is not the time of year when universities are typically hiring band directors.

Still, Waters and his attorney filed a lawsuit against OSU and members of its leadership on Sept. 26 in the U.S. District Court. Part of that lawsuit seeks Waters’ reinstatement and $1 million in compensatory damages.

Axelrod said Waters will look for a new gig in the meantime.

“If he has another job and he’s ordered reinstated, we will cross that bridge when we get to it because he is a productive person and he’s not a person who is going to sit around and wait for something to come to him,” Axelrod said. “Maybe he will make the ‘best damn band in the land for somebody else.’”


  1. Ohio State’s President and the Board of Trustees made a GRAVE error in dismissing Jon.

    I truly wish Jon the very best in whatever he chooses to do! He is a winner vs OSU’s piss-poor-decision-making-executives who are all losers in my book.

  2. It makes me really sad this had to happen.

  3. Who would hire him — issues –

    1. Any incidence of sexual harassment or alcohol abuse at new school, school has uphill battle on lawsuit. He has shown it is more important to him to be friend of students than to enforce rules and protect them.

    2. Even though he signed an agreement that he could be fired at will, he sued and tried to get others to fight for his reinstatement. Who wants an employee like that? His word means nothing.

    It doesn’t matter how great a band director he is, he is a problem employee.

  4. Concerned mother…you are so uninformed. Go back and read all of the documents. There are 100s of pages but then you will be able to make an informed comment. The Glaros report is filled with documented distortions and falsehoods which those who were interviewed have repudiated. Jon Waters’ evaluations were full of praise. Do you know the definition of “scapegoat?” That is what Jon has been in order for tOSU Board of Trustees to rid themselves of the Dept of Ed ongoing investigation with Title IX. And, no, I am not an OSU alum, my masters was earned at BGSU. BUt I recognize an injustice and feel the need to speak my piece.

  5. Concerned mother,

    Have you read the report released today? They clearly put more responsibility on the universities lack of support than they did Mr. Waters.

    1). How on earth do you come to that conclusion? Where did he not protect them. Not that it is his job to protect these fully grown adults.

    2) He had to sue them to clear his name because the university completely trashed his reputation…as you said, who would hire him if you believe the universities propaganda?

    I guess the trial will determine through an impartial jury who was the problem.

  6. He was faculty. He was listed that way in the paperwork at the school of music; in advertising; he assigned grades to students (only faculty can do that… think of it like common law marriages. If you don’t, then you give partners the right to leave a relationship years and years later leaving the other high and dry. Can’t have it both ways.

  7. Dear Dale, your common law marriage is an interesting one, but if you signed a pre-cohabitation agreement first before moving in, your rights would be limited. That is what Waters did. As a college graduate, he should have read the document and not signed it if he couldn’t live with it.

  8. As Jonathan Waters’ attorney, my comments were the basis for the article. It is apparent that I failed to make myself entirely clear. Jon loved his job, just as he loves Ohio State. He bleeds scarlet and gray. But, Ohio State has made it clear that it will pull out all the stops to win the lawsuit and crush Jon. It apparently is indifferent to the collateral damage that it will shamefully inflict on the Band – one of its crown jewels. The lawsuit could take years. Jon must care for his family. Almost no one could be idle for that length of time. Jon must care for his family, so at some point, he will have not choice but to seek new employment. But, as he has often said, it remains his fervent hope to be reinstated as Director of TBDBITL, and to lead it to new heights.

  9. Thank you for that clarification, Mr. Axelrod. I hope he is reinstated as well.

  10. As we approach Thanksgiving and the founding of New England, which was a bright spot in our history, I can’t help but to recall a dark point known as the Salen witch trials held a few decades later. What tOSU has done to Jon, his family and his band family demonstrates that we have not evolved that much from those witch trials…if you want to call them trials. Based in innuendo and proven falsehoods, the tOSU admin, acting as prosecuter, judge and jury, has effectively burned Jon’s career and the band’s reputation at the stake (as an obvious sacrifice to the Title IX gods at the Dept of Ed). He was clearly an innocent pawn, and it’s thoroughly disgusting to see ill-informed gutter snipes, posing as morally superior puritans, come out and continue to disparage him and his reputation. I wish him all the best and pray that he achieves gainful employment which allows him to once again elevate a band to new heights as he did OSUMB. For all those who are glad to see him go, I can only hope that you will be happy with the future that the university has set in motion. I will no longer be supporting alma mater…accept for my band brothers and sisters. As a side note, thank you for your efforts to shine the light on the truth, Mr. Axelrod!

  11. I only know what I read in the papers in California, but II can’t help thinking there is so much more to this story than what we’ve been told. B.Sc. OSU 1957

  12. John:

    I have read the Montgomery report, as well as just about every other public document. Regarding the protection of students, two incidents stand out. One is an additional allegation of assault. The victim reports that she reported this Waters, who said he would take it forward to the University for investigation. When she followed up with him the following year (when the alleged assailant was again in the band with her), he said that the University had investigated and dropped the matter as being a he-said-she-said case. Waters claimed that as band director he was then prohibited from taking any action that would keep that student out of the band. Montgomery was unable to find any back-up documentation with regard to Waters having made such a report. And, as we know, Waters declined to be interviewed.

    The second incident is the already reported allegation in which Waters moved to sanction both the woman who complained AND the alleged assailant. The popular story circulating is that Waters was instructed to do so by personnel in the Athletic Department–and that he refused to lift the sanction when initially requested by Student Affairs who raised the issue of retaliation. Again, Montgomery was unable to substantiate Waters’ version of the story through either documentation, or the admission of anyone in the Athletic Department. And it is at odds with the versions of both Student Affairs and the legal department which finally intervened.

    And no–Waters did not have to sue the University to clear his name. Not only was he offered the opportunity to resign rather than be fired, but he was also offered the opportunity for a face-saving on-campus follow-up, to which his attorney never responded.

    His lawsuit it would seem stems from a sense of entitlement to the job of Band Director and an apparent inability on the part of Waters to separate himself from that identity. It would appear to be a positive step that he has taken, and one would hope with some emotional, spiritual and career counseling, to begin a personal reassessment.

  13. Since the Waters firing was out of the scope of Betty’s task force, why would she be looking for evidence on if these incidents were reported. No don’t know all of the details of these events and neither do you. We will find all of that out during the trial when people will be testifying under oath. Bottom line is that if I am assaulted I am not going to my math professor, band director, or boss at my current job. I’m going to the police, not checking up with the band director a year later! Assault is a crime and this is a grownup world. As an adult If you are looking for any entity to protect you, then you are delusional.

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