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Ohio State announces marching band director search committee

OSU Marching Band members play during a game against Kent State on Sept. 13 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 66-0.  Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editor

OSU Marching Band members play during a game against Kent State on Sept. 13 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 66-0.
Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editor

The new marching band director will be selected by people from across the university — with representatives from the School of Music, the College of Medicine, the athletic department, the band’s alumni association and students from the band among them.

Ohio State announced the search committee to find a new leader on Monday afternoon.

Mark Shanda, the dean of the of Arts and Humanities, has been tasked with leading the search and has a seven-person crew to help him out, according to a university release. That crew includes:

  • Scott Jones, the associate director of university bands, an associate professor of music and one of the band’s current leaders
  • Ted McDaniel, a professor of music and African-American and African Studies, as well as the head of the jazz studies program, who often arranges the band’s music
  • Deborah Larsen, director of the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, associate dean of the College of Medicine and a former member of the Athletic Council who was recommended by University Senate secretary Tim Gerber, who is affiliated with the School of Music
  • Jeffrey Jordan, the CFO of the Ohio High School Athletic Association and the treasurer of the OSU Alumni Association Board of Directors, who is also a former band member and is currently a member of the TBDBITL Alumni Club
  • Diana Sabau, senior associate director of athletics, and
  • Two students and current members of the band, who will be selected by the band’s leaders.

Diversity of the group is important, said David Manderscheid, the executive dean and vice provost of the College of Arts and Sciences.

“It’s imperative that stakeholders who have a deep understanding of the band’s excellence and rich history are included in the process to identify a new director – from band leadership, faculty and alumni to student band members,” Manderscheid said in a released statement.

Shanda said he was involved with selecting the people on the committee and in planning how they will work together to find a director. “I look forward to working with the committee,” he said in an email.

Though there will be a new director, no other real changes to style or instrumentation are planned, the release said, including no uniform changes.

The director is expected to be named by February, according to an earlier university release. In the meantime, Scott Jones and University Bands director Russel Mikkelson are serving as interim directors.

Former OSU Marching Band director Jonathan Waters was fired July 24 after a two-month investigation into the band found a culture conducive to sexual harassment. It was determined he was either aware or reasonably should have been aware of that culture and did not do enough to change it.

Though Waters and his attorney have made several public appearances and submitted letters asking for Waters’ rehiring, multiple OSU administrators have refused to reconsider his case.

Waters visited Ohio Stadium on Saturday, and directed the alumni band at points throughout the OSU game against Kent State. He did not march in the halftime show, however.

Meanwhile, TBDBITL Alumni Club conducted its own investigation into Waters’ dismissal, the findings of which were announced Friday. The club’s law review chair Gary Leppla said Waters should be reinstated and the OSU report and subsequent firing of Waters hurt band members and alumni, and opened them up to humiliation.

And a second university-led investigation into the band’s culture is under way as well. That investigation — which is set to be completed by early October — is being led by former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery and is reporting to President Michael Drake and the Board of Trustees. It will assess the band culture, review OSU administrative processes and oversight, and counsel the university on Title IX compliance issues. Title IX is a section of the Education Amendments of 1972 that aims to protect against discrimination based on sex in education programs that receive federal funding.

Some records the The Lantern has requested since Waters’ firing had not been filled as of Monday night, including the employment files for the associate and assistant band directors, salary information for the interim band leaders, the marching band’s operating budget, the budget for the band director search and the budget for the additional band investigation.


  1. This is so heartbreaking to read.

    Frankly, who would want to take the job given the way Waters was screwed by Drake and his newfound cronies – the Board of Trustees? I know it is a primo job leading #TBDBITL but the chosen one will have to always be watching his back to avoid being Drake’s next casualty.

    Sickening. Just sickening.

  2. There is one right answer to this question.

    Raise your hand if you truly believe that there was a problem and that firing Jon Waters and doing absolutely nothing else has completely solved it.

  3. What they should be doing is putting together a search committee to find a new president. Jon Waters had been working on changing the culture of the band. He is clearly a scapegoat and should be reinstated!

  4. I’d like to volunteer my services to help search for a new president, athletic director, and Chair of the Board of Trustees. The ideal candidates would possess some form of integrity, would respect students, and would be able to scrutinize evidence to reach appropriate conclusions.

  5. Sounds like you are describing President Drake. He obviously possesses great integrity and respect for students. He made a tough decision to do the right (and not the easy) thing. The changes will lead to a better band and a better environment for the band students which they are deserving of.

  6. "Integrity" and "Respect"

    Considering the university has refused to acknowledge it took testimony of band members out of context while writing its “investigative report”, I doubt Drake has much respect for students or integrity. Also, if the band is as full of deviants as the “report” claims, does that mean Drake is lying when he talks about wonderful the students in the band are?

  7. Anyone that sneaks out the back lacks integrity. You can find him on YouTube.

  8. In this instance, the difficult but correct action is to apologize for slander and admit that serious mistakes were made. Again: if your only source of information is the university’s “report,” I encourage you to actually seek the truth before you pass judgment.

  9. Buckeye in the West

    “It’s imperative that stakeholders who have a deep understanding of the band’s excellence and rich history are included in the process to identify a new director – from band leadership, faculty and alumni to student band members,”

    Maybe if the above was followed, during OSU’s original “investigation”, then they would not be looking for a new band director.

    Finally, the OSUMB Alumni Association recommendation that the band be an independent organization should be strongly considered. If not, the politics when led to Jon Waters termination, will still be there.

  10. The treatment of Jon Waters is shameful, both to him, and the band members. Let alone the slander upon the reputation of the University.
    Dr Drake and the BOT have made tOSU and it’s graduates and students laughingstocks. Shame on them and their supporters.
    Tar and Feathers would be too good for them! Run them back to California on a rail!

  11. Let’s see,Drake,Wadsworth and Steinmetz…now in charge of a diverse selection committee.What a farce! These clowns need to face the music,not be in charge off it.They started something based on a joke report and off campus incident.These guys are playing judge and jury…very arrogant.We haven’t any regrets from them concerning the entire situation.Drake did kiss up to the band in the Dispatch last weekend.Powerful..what a class act.Mr Rogers would be a good nominee except he’s no longer in the neighborhood .When you destroy band members and their leader,there should be recourse and apology……no chance with the shameful group running and ruining our school…..Buckeyeland used to be a classy,cool place.

  12. Totally insular and incestuous grouping. Don’t we always include members from University Senate governance and USG on searches? Why is this different?

  13. Any candidate worth his or her salt would be foolish to step into this ethical maelstrom. He or she would have no assurance that the contractual promises made to them would be honored since the people making those promises just broke the law in their mistreatment of Jon Waters. When those vested with the public trust prove themselves untrustworthy once, without correcting the errors of their ways, they cannot be believed on any promise thereafter. Drake, Steinmetz, Wadsworth, Smith and Fischer need to pack their bags, then we’ll reinstate the only honorable man in this scandal–Jon Waters.

  14. @ anonymous 7:13 pm Monday- Obviously, not many people will consider your opinion worth two cents! If you have a strong conviction about your remarks, why do you need to remain anonymous? It’s a very FAIR QUESTION! I suspect that you are really “Reader Reader”! Ugh!

  15. The Real Ohio State Inc. (tm)

    No one eats their young quite like Ohio State

  16. Don't Let Up Lantern

    Lantern staffers: ask drake and steinmetz to their faces if the H.R. policies in place at OSU have changed since Mr Waters was terminated. For instance: when an university employee in good standing (read: a clean performance evaluation) who slips up for the first time or backslides into improper conduct or poor performance, does the university rescind any performance-improvement plans and move to termination proceedings immediately. That is a valid and highly pertinent question for this administration to answer.

  17. From what I now the HR policies are written to give the university maximum flexibility. In most cases where there is a performance concern employees get an improvement plan and then failure to improve leads to termination. However that isn’t guaranteed. The university keeps maximum flexibility for itself. If you don’t have a contract or not civil service you serve at university’s will. Right or wrong they have a good deal of latitude with releasing employees.

  18. Ronnie – I’m not being facetious when I ask this. Do you think that flexibility (which I see in the HR policies of the three current organizations I work for) includes being allowed to mis-represent evidence to justify an employees removal. In essence, the Glaros report lies about Mr. Waters and all recent and former members of the OSUMB?

    I agree that it will be difficult to find someone qualified for the position that will accept having seen how tOSU treats loyal employees, students and alumni.

  19. 73OSUgrad asked, “who would want to take the job given the way Waters was screwed by Drake and his newfound cronies – the Board of Trustees?” The answer is in the question – one of Drake’s cronies. If nothing else proves effective, how ’bout a class action suit?

  20. The University is making great play in regards to the Band about its Code of Student Conduct, that its members allegedly violated. What I would like to know is where is the “Code of Administrative Conduct” that would prevent, for example, the University from summarily firing someone with superior performance reviews, based on concealed information, and without any formal hearing? One law for the rich, I guess.

  21. The Lantern has distinguished itself in covering this story. It has become a real newspaper, doing good interviews, going after documents, and staying on top of the story. I can hardly wait for the employment files for the associate and assistant band directors as well as the budgets. But what will be really interesting will be reporting on the Montgomery task force, the increase or decrease in OSU’s fundraising, and the effect on Dr. Drake’s ability to be effective in the duties for which he was hired. I cannot help but be concerned for the Lantern and its staff. Inevitably, pressure will be brought to bear from the BOT and senior leadership of the University. I have no doubt that there will ultimately be reporting in the national, probably in the New York times, the New Yorker, or 60 Minutes. When that happens, I expect to see a tip of the hat to the Lantern and its staff.

    As an aside, what has happened here at OSU is reminiscent in some ways of the Bay of Pigs disaster a half century ago, when a very new president acted hastily in giving the go-ahead for a huge mistake. JFK accepted full responsibility for the mistake and learned from it. More importantly, he was largely forgiven for the mistake and it did not cripple his administration. But that was then and this is now.

  22. Doug- The problem is the university could fire an at will employee for no reason or some made up reason because it doesn’t matter. The University doesn’t have to justify the firing to anybody but the university, who will argue these reason are just fine as they have. There is no arbitration, independent court, etc. Generally a reason will be stated as the university is still bound by protected Federal classes, age, race, etc. When the university reports their findings there is no process to challenge them. At will employees don’t get a hearing. I don’t believe you even have a right to respond to the allegations or challenge them. Waters is afforded a better opportunity then must because of his status as a public figure. So in some ways he has presented his case against the allegations in the public and had people support him to offer a counter to Ohio State and generate pressure on the university but other employees would never have that opportunity. I believe at will employment affords the university a tremendous amount of latitude to do as it pleases. I don’t believe the courts will help him as I don’t think the law is written that way. People like to point to O’Brien but he had a contract Waters didn’t. At will employees really are in a tough situation you have to hope your employer is fair but they really don’t have to be.

  23. They need to fire Drake.

  24. Buckeye in the West

    Ronnie, actually Ohio law does permits a hearing for even “at will” state employees who get terminated. Jon Waters attorney requested such a hearing and was denied. It would have been a court like setting, calling witnesses, getting testimony and presided over by a neutral third party. Also, it was requested, that it would be covered by the media and held in a venue on campus (a large lecture hall).

    Then there is the implication of being terminated “for cause”. A person cannot collect unemployment fro cause, but the state employment office will investigate the termination, if one files for unemployment.

    So, Jon Waters has at least two avenues, before relying on legal action. Also, “at will” employees do have rights, and “at will” does not give an employer the right to terminate employees for any reason they see fit. In this case, Ohio law protects state employees from state employers abusing “at will” employment. In states like Texas, employees do not have these rights, which makes your comment applicable; just not in Ohio.

  25. Discussions here seem to suffer from echo chamber syndrome. For a breath of fresh air, and some context, try looking into how some other colleges and universities have handled such situations. And go beyond FAMU, where they let things slide until someone was killed. Try the University of Wisconsin, 2006 and 2008. Or read the Cleveland papers where the reporting is just a tad less gung-ho Buckeye, where they have included references to Kent State and others. Too many commenters seem to be stuck on, “what else could he have done?” Well, there were multiple options.

  26. I agree with RL and 73OSUgrad. Enough said.

  27. Buckeye permits doesn’t require that’s a key difference in terms of a hearing, that’s basically no hearing because the university has the right to decide whether they want to or not. I do understand the point of for cause basically just cause “Just cause” does not have an exact legal meaning and depends on the circumstances. It usually refers to sufficient fault on the part of the employee to justify termination. In the case of performance problems, however, just cause usually means that the employee consistently has failed to meet the employer’s reasonable expectations despite the employer’s warnings and instructions to improve. In Waters case it’s not the performance that’s at issue but the the report which the university says justify his firing. Your right Buckeye, but these “rights” are pretty flimsy because they have a whole lot of room for interpretation and that interpretation really falls to the advantage of the employer so in a lot of ways I would argue states like Texas are a whole lot more honest about how it works, because at least Texas isn’t shining me on with rights that don’t really exist. I do appreciate your point its just after seeing more then a few job actions to some good folks I’m not convinced those rights really mean anything.

  28. Yeah, sure..........

    Drake has so much “integrity” that he is the first university president in 40 years to NOT make an appearance at skull session on alumni day to greet the TBDBITL alumni and welcome them back to tOSU.
    Of course, he probably realized that he would have been booed out of St Johns, given that he helped brand ALL band alumni as homophobic perverts.

    Class action suit sounds good to me.

  29. Ummm, perhaps Drake stayed away because the TBDBITL Alums have been so confrontational and demanding. He gave a rep from the group fair hearing in his office–along with a rep from the greater Alum Assn–which stands behind the University on this issue. He has invited their participation on the search committee, as well as planning for their inclusion in culture changing activities going forward following the report from the Montgomery Committee. In response, they have challenged his leadership, demanding a reinstatement and apology and invited Jon Waters to direct the Alumni band on some numbers. So long as the TBDBITL Alums remain confused as to their role (which does not include responsibility for hiring and firing), public interaction with them would seem to be problematic.

  30. Buckeye in the West

    Out of the Box,

    So, you are saying that firing someone without due process, interviewing 9 people, eliminating any positives the 9 people had to say, and saying that all current and former band members participated in a ‘sexualized culture? And, hundreds of people have come forward indicating that much of OSU’s report was false, that many current and former band members are being harassed? And all these people should just forget about it, accept what the administration is saying is the gospel truth, ignore the fact their good names was dragged through the mud and move on? So, what happens when OSU does another witch hunt; the victim will also have to move on?

    I’m sorry, but the Band Alumni have a legitimate set of reasons for doing what they are doing. Jon Waters also has a legitimate reason for doing what he is doing. If this ends of in court it would not be very pretty for OSU. And before it ends up there, the truth will be expose by this newspaper and other media outlets in Ohio.

    Finally, comparing reports. What the Band Alumni put out was a report which was professionally done; what OSU put out would get a failing grade in High school.

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