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Jon Waters applies to get his old band director job back

Former OSU Marching Band director Jonathan Waters directs members of the alumni band during an OSU football game against Kent State on Sept. 13 at Ohio Stadium.  Credit: Chelsea Spears / Multimedia editor

Former OSU Marching Band director Jonathan Waters directs members of the alumni band during an OSU football game against Kent State on Sept. 13 at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Chelsea Spears / Multimedia editor

Former Ohio State Marching Band director Jonathan Waters has reapplied for his position, even though the university has repeatedly told him there’s no chance he’ll get his job back. And the school might be one step closer to guaranteeing he gets the message — a federal judge scheduled a hearing to consider OSU’s request that Water’s lawsuit about wrongful firing be thrown out.

Waters, who was fired in July after an OSU investigation found the band contained an entrenched sexualized culture, submitted a 4 ½ page application to OSU on Thursday for a tenure-track band director position.

“I think that when the university looks at my application — as they will with everyone who applies — they will see my qualifications, they will see exactly what I have done with the band before,” he told The Lantern.

The application opened in December and the university has said it aims to have a new leader selected by February.

When asked if OSU would consider Waters’ application, spokesman Chris Davey said in an email that he cannot discuss the specifics of an open job search.

Meanwhile, Judge James Graham will hear OSU’s case against Waters’ lawsuit on March 5.

Waters’ suit — which is against OSU President Michael Drake and Provost and Executive Vice President Joseph Steinmetz — says he was fired without due process and that he was discriminated against on the basis of gender.

Waters is suing for a minimum of $1 million in compensatory damages, in addition to seeking punitive damages, attorney fees and reinstatement.

OSU says Waters was an at-will employee and that he either knew about or reasonably should have known about a problematic, sexually charged culture in the marching band and didn’t address the problems.


  1. @Teacher

    Your argument is pretty well-reasoned and understandable. However, here is some food for thought.
    1. Why are the directors before Jon who allowed MR to occur not being questioned at all? Why is Jon the only one charged over it after it was allowed for at least 30 years with university approval? I don’t know when it actually became known to the university, but they allowed it. Why is it now all of a sudden a problem?
    2. Many universities across the country host undie-runs. If MR is not allowed to occur, shouldn’t those also follow the same?
    3. OSU sanctions the Mirror Lake jump by issuing wristbands for permission. Most students attend this drunk in undergarments or less. In addition, the conditions are extremely unsafe. Midnight Ramp is completely safe with only one reported alcohol poisoning incident that had nothing to do with MR itself.
    4. Women’s bathing suits nowadays are much more revealing than their undergarments, and OSU allows people to lie out on the Oval wearing skimpy bikinis when its warm out. And there are plenty of men on the beach who wear Speedos, which are more disturbing to look at than tighty-whities.
    5. I was on the swim team in high school. My junior year, there was a last-minute change in our uniform suits due to stock shortage; by no fault to my coach, the replacement suits were really skimpy, almost like a cut-out monokini. We were given the option to order less-revealing suits; some girls opted to keep the skimpy ones because they felt sexier. Not that I’d want it to happen, but why didn’t my coach suffer consequences for allowing the use of those suits? Side-note, he didn’t allow us to wear 2-piece suits in practice.

    The argument is not whether Midnight Ramp was or wasn’t okay; the university could have put its foot down on that a long time ago. It’s the blatant hypocrisy of what the university DOES approve.

  2. Alum – I suggest you seek help for your raging paranoia. There remains only one way to make the Band, and it is not by “endoctrination (sp)”, It is by succeeding in the very exacting and demanding tryout process. I am sure Alum witnessed some of those who didn’t make it in tears, and others concocting tales,of,victimisation to rationalise their own disappointment.
    Most importantly, Alum is completely misinformed about why OSU took the action it did. It had nothing to do with taking any stand against sexual harassment, it was simply a callous ploy by the administration to try to impress the Department of Education that it was dealing with the Title IX notice from 2010 that had absolutely nothing to do with TBDBITL. It is only with such gullible naivety on the part of people like Alum that the University can ever hope to get away with this disgraceful injustice, but fortunately, Alum finds him/herself in an ever-shrinking minority.

  3. Waters did not create this ‘culture”, he inherited it. Just like President Obama inherited the severe recession, the wasteful Iraq War, the corruption and other problems. Bush 2 inherited the “dot.com” crash effects from the waning days of the Clinton era. So why does Waters get all the blame? As for that “obscene college song book”, that was around during the early 90s – long before Jon Waters started his tenure at OSU. We all knew at least the Michigan song – “…hail hail to Michigan, the cesspool of the world!”

    This whole racket reeks of politics. The Ohio State University needs to do the sensible and right thing: reinstate Jon Waters into his job again and reimburse him for lost time and pay punitive damages.

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