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Ohio State Marching Band to perform 1 day after termination of director

Jonathan Waters Credit: Courtesy of OSU

Jonathan Waters
Credit: Courtesy of OSU

The Ohio State University Marching Band is still set to give one of its first performances of the season following the termination of its director nearly a day before.

The band will perform Friday night with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra at Picnic with the Pops under the batons of OSU concert band director Russell Mikkelson and Columbus Symphony resident director Albert-George Schram.

The band was originally set to be conducted by former director Jonathan Waters, who was terminated Thursday after a two-month investigation revealed the band had “an environment conducive to sexual harassment,” according to a statement from President Michael Drake released Thursday.

A 23-page investigation report posted on an OSU website Thursday 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 were given to new band members and a case where a female student was told to imitate a sexual act on laps of band members.

An independent task force led by former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery and “nationally-recognized experts” will be formed to further investigate the band’s culture, Drake’s statement said.

“At this time, the Ohio State Marching Band season will continue under new leadership and steps are being taken to swiftly identify an interim band director,” Drake’s statement said. “Additional training and guidance will be developed with new band leadership to create a proper culture, and nurturing environment.”

A representative from the Columbus Symphony Orchestra did not immediately return a phone call inquiring about any possible changes to the performance given Waters’ termination.

The marching band will perform at Picnic with the Pops both Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Columbus Commons, located at 160 S. High St.

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