The Ohio State Board of Trustees has refused to reinstate ousted band director Jonathan Waters or discuss his termination at an upcoming board meeting at the end of August.
“The Board of Trustees stands firmly behind the Office of University Compliance’s investigation and the university’s decision to terminate Mr. Waters,” said Board Chair Jeffrey Wadsworth in a Friday letter to Waters’ attorney.
Wadsworth’s response comes nearly a day after Waters’ attorney David Axelrod submitted a letter to the Board officially asking for Waters to be rehired. It claimed Waters was unjustly fired July 24 after the findings of a two-month investigation into the band found evidence of a sexualized culture.
Axelrod told The Lantern Friday he is disappointed but unsurprised by the Board’s letter.
“You would think that out of common decency the Board would give someone of Jonathan’s stature, who’s done so much for this university, at least an opportunity to be heard,” Axelrod said.
“It’s sad that they are basing their behavior on a report that is so deeply flawed, that no one believes it but the people who wrote it, and I’m skeptical that even those people believe. This sort of behavior is not worthy of this great university.”
Axelrod said he’s unsure if the Board’s letter will cause Waters to take legal action against OSU. He said he has not yet had a chance to discuss the letter with Waters.
Recently, though, Waters said he wanted to avoid taking legal action.
“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.”
OSU President Michael Drake, though, also said Wednesday Waters will not be rehired.
“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.
Drake said the university is prepared, however, if Waters sues.