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Ohio State fires band director Jonathan Waters

Jonathan Waters Credit: Courtesy of OSU

Jonathan Waters
Credit: Courtesy of OSU

Ohio State fired band director Jonathan Waters after a two-month investigation revealed “an environment conducive to sexual harassment” within the band, according to a statement from President Michael Drake released Thursday.

Waters, who took over as band director in 2012, was ousted from his position Thursday.

In his statement, Drake addressed Waters’ termination, saying “nothing is more important than the safety of our students.”

A 23-page investigation report posted on an OSU website detailed various instances of abuse between band students and directors. Examples include an annual band practice in Ohio Stadium that Waters attended where students were expected to march in only their underwear, sexually explicit nicknames for new band members and a case where a female student was told to imitate a sexual act on laps of band members.

Columbus lawyer David Axelrod, who represents Waters, told The Columbus Dispatch that Waters is not sure yet what action he will take.

“Jonathan tried as hard as he could within the constraints upon him to change that culture. He did his absolute best,” Axelrod said.

Axelrod also told the Dispatch Waters was contacted two weeks prior to his termination by the university, which told him he could keep his job as long as he enacted a “zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment.”

Axelrod did not immediately return a phone call from The Lantern Friday morning about a possible severance package for Waters.

The Dispatch was the first to report the news Thursday afternoon.

Waters was publicly discussing the band’s plans for the upcoming year as recently as last week. At a panel discussion about the band’s elaborate shows at the Columbus Metropolitan Club, he said the band will perform a “Wizard of Oz”-themed halftime show sometime this fall, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

An OSU spokesman did not immediately respond to an email Friday morning asking whether Waters has had contact with students during the last two months.

During Waters’ time as director, the band started using Apple iPads to help design and learn halftime performances. Some of these shows, including a Michael Jackson tribute show where the band formed legs that moonwalked across the field, went viral on social media.

Apple featured the marching band on an iPad Air television commercial that debuted in January. The company did not immediately return a call Friday inquiring about its relationship with the band given Waters’ termination.

The news of Waters’ firing came out roughly 14 months after two assistant cheerleading coaches were fired in May 2013. An OSU investigation had found “sufficient evidence” both men had violated the university’s Sexual Harassment Policy.

In November, head cheer coach Lenee Buchman was terminated as well for “several serious lapses of judgment and leadership,” according to an email sent to Buchman by OSU athletic director Gene Smith Nov. 22 that was obtained by The Lantern.

The October Office of Human Resources report that discovered those lapses began after a former cheerleader said Buchman had retaliated against him by kicking him off the team for reporting sexual harassment.

OSU’s Sexual Harassment Policy defines sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual advances” and “requests for sexual favors,” and includes “other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature” when, among other conditions, it creates an “intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for working, learning or living on campus.”

OSU named Ben Schreiber as the new spirit squad coach in April.


Liz Young and Logan Hickman contributed to this article.


  1. And this one time. . . at band camp. . .

    The PC police are always watching! I am so glad the new overpaid, mansion-living president has taken the bull by the horns on this one! So sad someone was forced to run to mommy and daddy to complain about this life-scarring situation for their little bundle of joy. I wonder what the new prez’ next earth-shaking priority will be. Certainly not tuition and overpaid bureaucrats.

    This won’t cause the football team to face any NCAA sanctions, right? Shew-wee! (Class of ’81.)

  2. Just returned an email to the president and cancelled all my connections with OSU. Don’t you dare have another current student call me again whining for me to donate money.

  3. I’m really glad to see that the university is taking steps to combat sexual harassment. It sounds like the marching band culture was out of control and became harmful to students. I’m sad to see Director Waters go, because his work with the band so far was excellent, but if he knew about these events and didn’t take any action then he deserved termination.

  4. As a witness to some of the things mentioned in this report I find it really silly that of all the things the University felt necessary to go after are offensive band nicknames and raunchy songs. I understand that if there were illegal hazing activities going on they should be dealt with, but this just seems to be overkill of decades-old marching band traditions. Marching band is supposed to be fun and I’m sure that there are other more pressing issues that the University should be investigating…like football players getting free tattoos!

  5. Hazing and bad behavior is not OK in the 21st century. If I said or did any of these things to a co-worker, I’d be handed my walking papers and court summons.

    It’s too bad this has gone on so long in such a respected organization. Now some of the shine has come off.

    Fix the problem and clean up the group.

  6. It’s depressing that THE Ohio State University keeps putting it’s foot in it. Not their fault, really, and again this is a matter that should be dealt with quickly and decisively. I just don’t understand how leaders and young students pursuing adult goals should condone or find pleasure in such prepubescent and openly coercive pranks, let alone condoning open drinking on the band bus. Grow up, band members! Do what you like in private but don’t sully the Pride of the Buckeyes.
    ~TBDBITL K-row member, 1963-64.

  7. Perfect first move for Dr. Drake. Fire the head of arguably the most successful program at the school, all for following decades old tradition. You’d think Drake could’ve just quietly asked Waters to discontinue the tradition.

  8. The University has enough money to waste, particularly on Betty Montgomery, and then Ernst & Young,Sports Conflict Institute, and an outside counsel to provide guidance on Title IX compliance! Wouldn’t it suffice to have ONE independent investigation, not 4. If this is an example of Drake’s leadership, he can go back to California.

  9. Buckeye in the West

    In this newspaper, over the years, there have been stories about the band. including initiating new members by spraying them with fire hoses, running around in underwear, etc. Everyone on campus, including the administration, knew there was some kind of hazing in the band. Some of it in the open at outdoor band practice, and going back well in the middle to earlier part of the last century. Until 1975, the band was male only, and it had a fraternity culture. What is remarkable ,in 40 years since the implementation of Title IX, someone filed a sexual harassment complaint. And, after a hundred or so years; a hazing complaint.

    I will miss Dr. Waters and his half time shows. His two years, and band director, set the bar very high for other bands, as well as the OSUMB. He did to try to change the culture, but it is hard to quickly change a culture that has been engrained for years.

    I suspect, after what happened at Florida A&M, this is why this action was taken. Though, Florida A&M was a far worse situation. Sort of like comparing what Happened at Penn State (Sandusky), and what happened at Ohio State under, Jim Tressel. Unfortunately, zero tolerance means just that.

    So, I wonder if our new President is going to go up and down 15th Avenue and Indianoa Avenue closing down fraternity and sorority chapters because of of similar instances in which the OSUMB was accused of?

    Finally, Dr. Waters will quickly find a new job; his Resume is on YouTube for anyone to see.

  10. As a former member of TBDBITL, an active member of the TBDBITL Alumni Band, a former high school and college marching band director, I am stunned that any such action has been taken against the Director of the OSU Marching Band. I view this in light of the recent sanctions against two other Big-10 university marching bands, and especially those at Florida A & M., in which actual phyisical harm came to members of these bands – as a matter of tradition(?) – when no such dangerous “traditional” incidents have ever occurred at OSU. Those bands deserved the punishment they received. I have always taken pride in the fact that the members of TBDBITL work so hard at maintaining their excellence and, recently, bringing pride and International Fame to the University, that they never have the energy, need, or notion to ever purposely impose further physical actions on each other. The Band has always been an especially close group with good natured competition between ranks, including nicknames not purposly invented to be intentionally disrespectful or mean. After viewing both the Exam and Song Book “Exhibits” presented by the University, I am more inclined to be embarrassed by the poor examples of literacy than I am of supposedly pointed harrassment. Poor taste, yes. But, really, quite calm in light of activities still practiced by social groups everywhere, and especially in departmental classrooms on Campus. One has to wonder what the result would be if all university academic classes had to demonstrate their competentcy before a hundred thousand plus observers each week. Stupid songs and silly names seem to be an awfully calm – if not a creative(?) release of pressure from the constant defense of quality at The Ohio State University. To say nothing of the definate threats to one’s humanity waiting in the real world outside and after graduation.

  11. Waters did a phenomenal job with the band in terms of what they do they are the best. However there are aspects of the job that are just as important. Keeping control and changing the culture are part of that. I agree culture is difficult to change but honestly he didn’t seem to be doing enough in this area. We also need to realize the federal government is placing significant pressure on universities to clean up their enforcement of Title IX. OSU is already on the list of 50 institutions dinged for having compliance issues. This is just another black eye. That’s why Waters was terminated and not asked to resign. We are not talking about the NCAA people we are talking about the Federal government. If you think this is a crusade that President Drake decided to take on then you need to wake up. He is doing what he has no choice to do. This isn’t the 60s and Mad Men. This type of sexually charged environment is a series issue. And it should be I respect the ability of the band but I need to respect them as men and women and this type of asinine behavior is ridiculous.

  12. I guess if you don’t work in higher ed you don’t realize how big a deal Title IX compliance is. It’s a huge deal. The reason the university is spending money on all those people in an effort to clean up compliance is because when the Federal Government starts asking questions they need to show how serious they are. Five six years ago there wasn’t even a Title IX compliance office it fell under someone else’s duties. Times change and you either adapt or pay the price. This is the university adapting. This isn’t a let be PC offering this is the Feds are serious and we need to show we are too.

  13. Buckeye in the West

    It will be ironic if our new president is found to have violated Title IX at his old school.

    Yes, Title IX is a serious thing, as is discrimination and sexual harassment. Dismissal, in the case, may have been overly harsh. as some schools usually make an attempt to try to rectify the situation and put people on some type of probationary status. Though, such a high level dismissal, sets an example for every department, faculty member, staff member, student and visitor on campus; don’t even think about violating any aspect of Title IX.

    As I mentioned earlier, I will not be surprised that the Title IX “police” targets fraternities and sororities next. What happened, in the band is mild, compared to what happens behind closed doors on Fraternity/Sorority Row. They may take this to the honorary societies, as well. Because, all these organizations have some form of hazing.

    One thing about OSU, they like to make examples when they are trying to make a point.

  14. 100% agree with Ian Polster – this is called college life. OSU doesn’t deserve Jon and everything he brought to the table. Even if you want to make stupid songs and silly nicknames bigger things than they are, the bawdy but harmless fun that went on behind the scenes in TBDBITL cannot be laid at the feet of one person. It is my sincere wish that this time (unlike with Tressel and the football scandal), OSU will get what it so richly deserves. I am truly ashamed to have had an association with that institution, and not one more of my dimes will go into its coffers ever again.

  15. @Team Jon. Understand that if these things were harmless then Dr Waters would still be leading the band. I advise all of you to look into the Florida A&M band hazing incedent and others if you really want to know why they are taking this to the levels that they are.

  16. I think Dr. Walters was doing his best to mitigate the problem, and it is unfortunate he didn’t report it. He could have saved his job if he filed a report before the investigation started.

    That being said, I think it’s great that the band has traditions. Reading through that report, I must say that it was a little raunchy. Whoever penned those lyrics was quite creative

  17. When you talk about Greek organizations that’s a bit of a different bag. Those are independent organizations that are recognized by the university. The band is sponsored by the university. Greek organizations have a volunteer adviser from the University community. The band has someone hired a university employee whose sole job is to run the band. This is a university sponsored group and activity the responsibility on the university is much higher. The feds have made it very clear to the university how serious Title IX is. Reading that report Waters sat on his hands one too many times and he paid the price. In this climate keeping Waters would be ill advised and just asking the feds to come down hard.

  18. Zero Tolerance = Zero Thought = Zero Justice

  19. Yes, zero tolerance is indeed the only path here. Also, it might be nice for several of those who submitted comments to work on their grammar and English usage. I refer to words such as “series” instead of serious; “incedent” instead of incident, “definate” instead of definite and other problems. Come on, some of you may even have a college degree or two or three! And one of those degrees may be from our OSU!!!

  20. Classic Buckeye Nation responses. Pull your heads out people. Most ‘traditions’ at Ohio State are turning out to be sleezy, illegal and abusive. Go figure.

  21. Oh my god. Political correctness gone amuck. So sick of it. You think this doesn’t happen within your beloved football team? Give me a break.. Let’s have marching violins and perform script “kumbaya” at this season’s home opener. Geez.

  22. As an Ohio State Alumni, I will not renew my membership. This is nothing but the thought police attacking another harmless activity. First they tried to force bracelets for mirror lake jump, then over $20 for the spring game, “premium game” pricing, and tuition hikes to pay for this moron elitist Dr. DRAKE to further his agenda. Go back to Cal Drake!

  23. I’m going to audition as a clarinet for OSU Band then sue when they don’t allow me a spot.

  24. Dr. Robert Garwig

    As an alumnus of the University and the Marching Band I am shocked and saddened to hear the news of Dr. Water’s termination, and of the alleged misconduct within the Marchig Band. The activities reported by the Lantern and the report itself, if accurate, have no place in the Marching Band and are unseemly. The whole mess needs to be cleaned up immediately and I commend President Drake for his clear and immediate action.

  25. Buckeye in the West

    Dave, you forgot the administration selling OSU parking to CampusParc for the next 50 years.

    Dr Drake seems to fit in well with the administration. Remember, OSU is two worlds; the real world of students, faculty and staff; the fictional world, of an out of touch administration in their ivory towers (Bricker Hall and Lincoln Tower, among other places). Generations of students can at least attest that dealing with the administration has been constant, fro well over 50 years; an unyielding bunch of people who quote rules and ignore the fact they are there to serve the students; not the other way around.

    Dr. Waters inherited a bad culture and it takes time to change the culture. He made mistakes, in doing so. He probably should have asked for help, as he is very young as band directors go. Maybe he did and was ignored by Gene Smith (yes, the Athletic Director is over the band) and other higher ups. Sees weird that another high profile individual takes the fall *Jim Tressel being the other individual). Thus leaving the President and Athletic Director to escape unscathed.

    In both cases, it did not matter what they did to rectify a problem, they were set up to fail by those above them.

  26. My initial reaction was outrage at Dr. Walters not being given the opportunity to make the needed changes following the investigation. But after reading the report and thinking more about this situation, I now believe the university is right to terminate his employment.

    The university leadership, by action or inaction, sets the rules for what happens when rules are not followed. One approach is to signal to employees that they will be given additional chances if they don’t follow the rules. Another approach is to signal to employees that if they don’t follow the rules, they will be terminated. With the first approach, needed change occurs much more slowly, if at all.

    Employees are not stupid. They act based on the signals they receive from their management. In Dr. Walters’ situation, he appears to have done nothing that could not be said of his predecessors, all of whom are highly regarded by the university leadership.

    So the failure of leadership extends from Dr. Walters all the way to the university president and trustees. That failed higher level leadership has resulted in the university losing one of its most inspirational and talented teachers.

  27. I’m extremely angry and ashamed that these children and incompetent adults allowed this kind of culture to occur at my Alma Mater. Thanks for disgracing the University and undermining our hard earned degrees; JERKS! It also very disturbing to read the comments defending this behavior especially by the former members of the band. This happened following the recent Cheerleader scandal as well. In this day and age, there is absolutely NO EXCUSE for a culture like this to prevail. Firing Dr. Walters was absolutely merited and there should be further fallout.

  28. I had the honor of being one of the first females in the band. In 1975, two years after women were “allowed’ in, you could feel the resentment from many of the men. But, you could also feel the respect from the guys because we were actually good enough to march side by side with them. There was the normal hierarchy of rookies vs veterans that you would find in any organized group of people. The “off color” songs we’d sing on the bus seemed quite normal for a bunch of college kids. I “made” the band on a Thursday and was on a bus less than 24 hours later going to Michigan State. One of the traditions at the time was for all the Freshman to go to the front of the bus and tell a dirty joke. When it came to my turn, I just told the guys I didn’t want to do it, and they gave me a little abuse, and went on to the next Freshman. Decades later, I’m quite sure that the underclassmen and/or the women have had the same opportunity to decline participation in any “traditions” that they were uncomfortable with. The guys who asked us to tell a dirty joke or made funny lyrics to a song were the same guys who worked with us every single day. There was always an underlying feeling of mutual respect and admiration in the air.

    If there was ever a time for sexual harassment it was back then, when women initially made the band. I never, ever had a sense that the guys were any different than those I hung out with in high school or at the dorm. Decades later, I imagine this generation of marching women would echo my sentiments. I am deeply saddened by the Jon’s termination. I think the Administration could have handled this issue without taking such drastic measures. In the meantime, I will be marching with the Alumni Band this fall and I will hold my head up high. The proudest moments in my life came from TBDBITL. Besides the birth of my kids, nothing even comes close.

  29. Wow this sounds like Papa Jim Tressel all over again!!!!!! Yes folks college kids will be college kids BUT all it takes is one to feel uncomfortable and not find the fun and games funny anymore (or degrading). Sounds like the culture should be changed. If my child called me with the same complaints I would have told my child to file a complaint as well! Crap this band was so good and reminded me of what I loved about my high school marching band in contests!

  30. People these violations in the band relate to federal sexual-discrimination rules. The university had to terminate Waters. Anything less after you have been cited as one of the 50 universities with a chronic Title IX problem would be suicide. Yes he inherited the problem but he certainty didn’t grasp how serious an issue was and did not do his best to address it. Six years ago you probably get a warning, a reprimand, today you get fired. You have to adapt he certainly didn’t and paid the price.

  31. So where is compliance and Gene Smith in all this. Isn’t he ultimately responsible for all those under him? How could he not know!! If university staff is involved in such activities, they are given a period to change then reevaluated, not automatically fired (unless a crime is committed). A plan to improve is agreed upon by the transgressor and boss, cc to HR and the chair or in this case compliance & Gene Smith. There is generally a paper(electronic)-trail to follow.

  32. Have fun coming back from this President Drake. Kiss your presidency goodbye. I give it 5 years. Don’t make your first decree as president messing with the best damn band in the land.

  33. Buckeye in the West

    Guest, sure Gene Smith knew. Just like he knew with Jim Tressel. And like Jim Tressel, Dr. Waters took the fall. If President Drake was looking to embrace students, faculty, staff and alumni; this move will make his job very difficult. Especially, when Gene Smith is being protected, again, from another controversial situation.

    The report does indicate that Dr. Waters was trying to change the culture, but it was not going fast enough for Title IX compliance. The administration, because of Title IX pressure, wanted immediate change. Obviously, that was not happening. It did not help that someone, and their parents, filed a complaint. This could have happened to Dr. Woods, if the complaint was filed two years earlier.

    I wish Dr. Waters well; his talent will be a positive for any band that he chooses to lead.

  34. I was in school with Dr. Walters as I was in athletic band and he was in marching band. This stuff has been going on for years and actually seems a bit tapered down. Does this mean we should cut off Dr. Woods pension? If you want to punish Dr. Walters, why not punish those that do this? Unfortunately, the band should be suspended at least one game as they are the ones that performed these actions. Is it fair everybody gets punished? No. Is it fair Dr. Walters gets punished? No. I am just glad that some of the nicknames were released so South Park can make an episode about this. Also, thank you for publishing the unofficial songs as they are hillarious. Yes, some of these songs are the same I remember as an undergraduate student. If I was not a lifetime member of the Alumni Association, I would no longer be a member of it. I will guarantee that there will be no donations from myself to Ohio State.

  35. Now the marching band can change its nickname to “The Best F*****g Band In The Land.

  36. You know, according to report, Waters was not very truthful initially and THAT may have hurt his case. If you get caught in a lie, you pay.

  37. In this day and age you simply don’t mess around with these types of issues. It isn’t about whether the kids are adults or responsible for their own actions, it’s about certain behaviors that are never OK in certain environments. This is a course at the University just like physics or geography. These types of behaviors wouldn’t be appropriate in any of those settings.

    Growing up in a litigious society, having gone through the University system, and being an employee of an entity that puts a Title IX poster and non-discrimination sign in front of your face 24/7, Waters should have put a stop to these activities IMMEDIATELY. These are the things that get you fired in 2014. Day one should have been, “If you participate in any of these activities kids, you miss half the season. If you do it a second time, you are done permanently as a member of this band.”

    This might have been just fine back in the day, but times have changed and what was once acceptable is now considered not only abhorrent, but illegal.

  38. Re: Greg says:
    July 25, 2014 at 12:21 am
    I’m extremely angry and ashamed that these children and incompetent adults allowed this kind of culture to occur at my Alma Mater. Thanks for disgracing the University and undermining our hard earned degrees; JERKS! It also very disturbing to read the comments defending this behavior especially by the former members of the band. This happened following the recent Cheerleader scandal as well. In this day and age, there is absolutely NO EXCUSE for a culture like this to prevail. Firing Dr. Walters was absolutely merited and there should be further fallout.

    – Finally, a rare Buckeye with ethics. However, I don’t view them as children. I was sexually harassed at five years old, already knew it was wrong and the right thing to do was tell someone. College kids should know right from wrong. If they’re raised right, and have morals themselves.

  39. Dr. Waters being fired like this all so wrong. President Drake, watch the donations go down. Any donation I make will go only to the band.

  40. @Buckeye in the West I totally agree on the Gene Smith point I think he has flown under the radar and really needs to get called to the carpet. But I don’t see this as a Drake decision. Given the Title IX pressure which I would say is not from the administration but the Federal government this is not even a decision Drake could make differently. The board, legal, and every senior admin was likely telling him this is the only decision to make or the university was really going to put itself at risk with the Feds.

  41. @Buckeye in the West actually you mention Title IX pressure which I can see as Fed pressure. I don’t think they fired him because he didn’t change enough I think they fired him because as the feds investigate the university asked what will the Feds think of us keeping Waters after this report. And the answer was likely they won’t think well of us. If this had happened under Woods the same would have happened. The problem is Waters didn’t seem to pressed to change he seemed a bit nonchalant about the whole thing and that was the wrong attitude. Once again I totally agree on gene Smith I don’t see how he slips out with no damage in these situations.

  42. Dr. Drake should go. This was a poor decision by the new president and he should be show the door befor he damages the university any further by under minding good people to play the cover your ass. You fight for good people,not fire them.

  43. All of you are missing the true point of this matter! Allegedly, while Waters was band director, a female band member was raped by a male band member. The rape was reported to Waters and he allegedly blamed the female and did not take the matter seriously and allegedly covered it up.

    The rape was reported to the head of OSU Student Life (the department under which the OSU marching band falls)and documented. OSU Student Life has allegedly covered up the rape as well. The male band member was reprimanded and expelled from OSU (before he had the chance to “dot the I”), but allegedly he was not criminally investigated.

    Most of you posting have not, obviously, read The Columbus Dispatch article nor a few other news outlet articles that refer to two sexual assaults under Waters’ band directorship. I mentioned the one above, but I do not know of the other. Yes, pranks, sexual references, and drinking has gone on in the past and is, to an extent, part of college growing up; however, rape is NOT to be tolerated!

    I hope that Dr. Drake, attorney Montgomery, The Columbus Dispatch, and The Lantern get to the bottom of this and reveal why this band matter is different than band issues before. Also, it will enlighten all of you posters who think this is no big deal when it is a big deal. The newly implemented initiative for these college investigations (and The Ohio State University is on the list) is so that rapes/sexual assaults will no longer be tolerated and covered up on campuses!

  44. Thank you Alum. That was very well put.

  45. To some of you posters: Waters NOT “Walters” is the last name of OSU’s band director who was just fired.

    Also, he does not have a Ph.D (Doctor of Philosophy, which is a terminal degree, meaning the highest degree one can receive)nor a professional doctorate (MD, DVM, DDS, JD, Ed.D, etc.); therefore he is NOT Dr. Waters. He is Mr. Waters or just Jonathan Waters.

    Get it right!

    The the band director before Mr. Waters was Dr. Woods, and he deservedly was called Dr. because he earned a Ph.D. As well, the current assistant band director has a Ph.D., thus he has the title of Dr.

  46. no more money to osu

    This drastic measure was not the only possibly outcome of this investigation. There is a code of conduct that band members are required to sign. If the university became aware of this culture, then update the code, implement a zero tolerance policy, keep waters at the helm, and appoint an oversight committee to monitor. Firing waters follows a familiar pattern of the administration to distance themselves from an embarassing situation by assigning blame to a scapegoat. This particular example sets an impossible precedent for all university organizations. Will a defensive coach get canned for calling a player weak or a pansy? Do they not think that the fraternities or other clubs are sexualized and alcoholic when out of direct sight of the administration? The conduct of the band, while inappropriate and in need of a culture change, are mild compared to things that happen in smaller and even tighter knit communities within all universities. Rehabilitate the culture, yes, but to eviscerate an organization that is one of the most recognizable symbols of the university was a mistake.

  47. Anonymous Buckeye

    I was one of the early female members of TBDBITL. Things have not changed. It is not OK to bully, nor is it OK to sexually harass anyone. For any reason. Allegations have been made before, but there was no one in the Athletic office (at the time) who took it seriously. A female band member was even quoted in the Lantern in the 1970s talking about the raunchy songs on the bus. No one cared.

    I am proud of the quality of our marching band’s shows. I know what it takes to win a position in the band, year after year. I was one of the people who practiced, studied, and practiced some more to make it. I know what it’s like to get out there, practice all those hours, memorize the moves and the music. I know that tensions and the pressure to perform are extremely high. I also know that there are people who love to see Ohio State look bad in the media.

    HOWEVER – it is not OK any more to treat people with anything less than respect. No racial epithets. No homophobia. No sexually intimidating words, “midterms”, rookie tasks, etc. It is not OK.

    I agree that Waters has been made the scapegoat. But maybe, just maybe, the students and staff will get the picture that excellence can be achieved without demeaning someone else.

  48. The “esteemed” marching band is apparently a group of perverts. Next time someone says they are a band alumni, I’ll wonder what crass nickname they answer to. The band should be suspended for the season. Have local high school band perform in their place.

  49. It is a shame this happened to such a creative individual, but tOSU had very little choice given the current atmosphere created by a number of factors concerning the current litigious nature of society and relatively recent events at both Ohio State and at other institutions regarding the cover ups of student misconduct and hazing gone very wrong. I have sympathy for “Mr.” Waters (sidebar: seriously, Ph.D Candidate, it seems to lack perspective to choose this issue to carry on so about erosion of the branding of “Dr.”/”Doctor” when far more serious matters at being discussed) because I know first hand that it can be very easy, when you’re put in that situation, to not want to be the person to rock the boat or throw others “under the bus”, even if you are the one in charge, especially since I would expect that all the other band he’s been associated with probably had their own traditions of hazing and/or prurient behavior.

    It is interesting to read some of the comments, including those of individuals associated with the band, past or present, and your typical haters. It should be kept in mind that, while the situation should be taken seriously and has been, I would not consider it to be egregious and calling people out as “perverts” or other epithets is not needed or helpful. I am equally certain that most institutions of higher learning have many of the same issues with trying to control hazing. No human is perfect and, when you cram so many together in the same place, there are bound to be some problems.

    However, the knee-jerk defense of either the university or the band in this situation is not warranted either. It is human nature to close ranks and to “cover the backs” of your fellow group members by hiding or minimizing poor behavior, but that is precisely what allows it to grow and, sometimes, to become truly barbaric (such as what happened at Florida A&M). It is really no different than the organizational dynamics that allow bad cops to be protected by the “blue shield” of good cops, that allow lazy or incompetent union members to keep their jobs via Union protection, and that even led to sicko priest being shuffled from parish to parish to commit sexual abuse over and over. I would suggest that TBDBITL alumni put their emotional responses behind them and try to view the situation more objectively before they start carrying on about not giving another dime to the University, cutting all ties, blah blah blah. If you think back to your first year in the band, I will bet you can remember a least a few times where the proverbial “little voice inside your head” started whispering “this is wrong”, and you ignored it even though it was probably dead on right. This is why I believe President Drake did was necessary. Again, I hope Mr. Waters’ career can recover, because he is merely the fall guy for a problem that he clearly did not create.

  50. Alum and Ph.D Candidate to Denis '89

    To Denis ’89 July 27 2:01 p.m. from Ph.D Candidate July 25 10:52 p.m. I just want to let you know that I am also the Alum who wrote the very relevant posting on July 25 8:13 p.m. about missing the true point of this matter (the firing of Jonathan Waters). However, my posting about the use of “Dr.” is relevant (but yes, less relevant) as well because if OSU is to be taken seriously as an academic university, especially a Research 1 University, then academic terms and titles should be used correctly. As it already stands, many of these uncalled-for scandals are already ruining the reputation of our fine academic institution! Furthermore, they are jeopardizing the hard work, funding, and future of OSU Ph.D. students and candidates.

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