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Jonathan Waters asks Ohio State Board of Trustees for job back

Former Ohio State Marching Band director Jonathan Waters Credit: Courtesy of OSU

Former Ohio State Marching Band director Jonathan Waters formally asked for his job back in a Thursday letter to the OSU Board of Trustees.
Credit: Courtesy of OSU

Former Ohio State Marching Band director Jonathan Waters formally asked the OSU Board of Trustees for his job back in a Thursday letter from his attorney.

In the letter, Waters’ attorney David Axelrod cited numerous examples of why Waters should be reinstated, many of which pointed to flaws in the investigation that ultimately cost Waters his job.

The letter stated the investigation only interviewed a small sample of current and former band members. It said some of the interviewees have since come forward to say they were misquoted or that information they provided to investigators that gave Waters praise didn’t make it into the final report.

That final report concluded the band contained a culture that was highly sexualized. It said Waters was either aware of, or reasonably should have been aware of that culture, but didn’t do enough to address it.

The letter also said the report was never shown to Waters until after the university “demanded” his resignation. It said Waters was not granted a request of additional time to review and respond to the report before being “ordered” to resign or face termination.

Waters was fired July 24.

It also noted how Waters received mostly praise from superiors in his performance reviews for various positions he’s served while with the band.

OSU President Michael Drake said Wednesday Waters will not be offered reinstatement.

“We thought carefully about this decision and the decision that we made was that we needed to have a change in leadership to be able to change the (marching band’s) culture,” Drake said at a lunch gathering of the Columbus Metropolitan Club.

Waters has not made it clear whether he plans to pursue legal action against OSU.

“I don’t want to have to sue the university that I love,” Waters said in an Aug. 7 interview with The Lantern. “I don’t want to have to take legal action. What I want to do is clear the reputations of those students and of me and of the many alums who have come before.”

Drake said the university is prepared, however, if sued.

The Board of Trustees office did not immediately respond to a phone call from The Lantern after business hours Thursday.

OSU spokesman Gary Lewis didn’t respond to an after-hours email Thursday.



  1. I think this is great news. We shouldn’t have to put up with all the back-door shenanigans that the university has been doing lately. I hope they re-hire him!

  2. Debbie Testement

    As a ’72 alum, I stand with Jon Water’s job back!

  3. The investigation was such a sham. It looks like Jon Waters was railroaded into resigning and not allowed any type of due process. I believe the complainant is someone with strong connections to an alumni, trustee or donor who has the pull to strongarm this type of action.

  4. I think I’ll start a FB page called “Drake the Mistake”. Probably need to let Zuckerberg & Co. know their operation is about to be overloaded!

  5. the culture across campus is one of immaturity and self-entitlement – typically driven by upper administration (give me big raises and bonuses) and faculty (I can do anything because I’m protected by tenure). What people forget is that the same people who conducted the investigation, wrote the report, advised the President, and recommended the removal were all Gee hires – These same people are more apt to remove people in positions who “can” be removed (staff – lower level administrators)than to actually “fix” the problem – a public records request should be done on the vast amount of sexual harassment at the hands of faculty – remember, these people typically have grown up in the culture and know nothing else and they believe this is how one acts in the workplace and unfortunately, something needs to break the cycle because they aren’t apt to do it themselves – they just aren’t addressing it with the right people and the right tools – AND they aren’t standing by the right people willing to address the issues.

  6. It is becoming apparent that it is now time to focus energies on the removal of “Drake the Mistake.” The same political hacks, errr, The Board of Trustees, that wasted so much money in “finding ” him (remember?–private jets, out-of-state consulting firms, big dollar meals, etc.) MUST be “informed” — en masse! These titans will first want their rings kissed, so the line forms here to pucker up.

  7. Dr Drake stated at the Metropolitan Club that nothing in the upcoming Betty Montgomery report will change his mind. To quote W. S. Gilbert , she has been hired to add ” merely corroborative detail, intended to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative.”

  8. What is a “Thursday letter” as written in the first sentence? Editors, wake up.

  9. Drake said the individual fired was too ” polarizing”.Shortly after this…Erwin Cherminsky was rehired at UC Irvine.The OSU trustees knowing this still hired Drake .Maybe that’s why they hired him. The Jon Waters situation is so egregious,so calculated,so stone cold wrong that it needs to be rectified.No one should be treated this way.A second look is very much needed by the administration of my alma mater.

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