Ohio State University has fired the director of its marching band and is expanding an internal investigation that uncovered a deep culture of sexual harassment among students that reportedly has existed for years.
Examples of abuse include an annual midnight band practice at Ohio Stadium in which men and women were expected to march wearing only their underwear. In one recent year, a student suffered alcohol poisoning at the practice. Students led the rehearsal, but staff members, including Waters, were there, too.
Some other traditions: All new band members, or “rookies,” were given nicknames, many of which were sexually explicit. Rookies were forced to perform “tricks” on command. In one case, a female student was told to imitate a sexual act on the laps of other band members, including her brother.
Several witnesses said that students performed a “flying 69” on tour buses, in which band members hung from the luggage racks and posed in a sexual position. Waters was on the bus when that happened as recently as last fall, according to a band staff member who quit last year.
All new band members, or “rookies,” were given nicknames, many of which were sexually explicit. Rookies were forced to perform “tricks” on command. In one case, a female student was told to imitate a sexual act on the laps of other band members, including her brother.
This is a sad day. I'm sure there ere things that were across the line to a degree, it's pretty remedial stuff IMO.
University Statement on Ohio State Marching Band Culture
The Ohio State University takes very seriously its responsibility to provide a world class education, which is enriched by a positive campus culture, diverse academic experience and opportunities for personal growth. Those responsibilities are built on the University's core values of integrity, personal accountability, openness and trust.
While the Ohio State Marching Band has embraced a tradition of excellence and become a source of enormous pride for the entire Buckeye family, a recent review of the Marching Band culture and practices revealed conduct by members of the band and staff that is inconsistent with the University's values and Title IX requirements.
A thorough investigation by the Office of University Compliance over the past two months revealed serious cultural issues and an environment conducive to sexual harassment within the Marching Band. In addition, the investigation determined that Director Waters was aware or reasonably should have known about this culture but failed to eliminate it, prevent its recurrence and address its effects.
Jon Waters has been terminated from his position as Director of the Marching Band.
"Nothing is more important than the safety of our students," said The Ohio State University President Michael Drake. "We expect every member of our community to live up to a common standard of decency and mutual respect and to adhere to university policies.
Moving forward, we must abide by a zero tolerance policy at the University—both with the Marching Band and the entire campus community—for any behavior that creates a hostile culture at Ohio State. I view this as a new day and an opportunity for the Ohio State community to come together and embrace the values and behavior that have made this University great."
In addition to changing the leadership of the Marching Band, the University immediately has taken additional steps to ensure that change is swift and impactful. This begins with the appointment of Betty Montgomery, former Ohio Attorney General, to lead an independent task force, reporting directly to President Drake and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, to review this matter in its entirety. This task force will include nationally-recognized experts:
Ernst & Young, which will conduct an investigatory review.
Sports Conflict Institute, which will conduct an independent review of the Ohio State Band culture.
Outside counsel to provide guidanceon Title IX compliance.
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. Additional training and guidance will be developed with new band leadership to create a proper culture, and nurturing environment.
They were hazing the freshmen... oh no!