You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

OSU fires marching band director over harassment culture

Director Jonathan Waters failed to address wrongdoing, new president says.


Ohio State University fired marching band director Jonathan Waters on Thursday after a two-month investigation revealed a culture of sexual harassment and hazing within “The Best Damn Band in the Land.”

The 92-page investigation concluded that Waters, who was a sousaphone player in the band in the late 1990s, was aware or should have known about this culture but failed to eliminate or address it, the university said. The investigation was triggered by a complaint from a band member’s mother.

OSU paid Waters $188,504 last year, according to an open records requests from the Dayton Daily News .

OSU President Michael Drake said in a statement posted online: “Nothing is more important than the safety of our students. 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.”

Drake, who started as university president three weeks ago, announced that former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery will lead an independent task force to review the matter. An interim band director has yet to be named. Ohio State’s home opener is Sept. 6 against Virginia Tech. The band’s 255 members practice 30 hours a week to learn music and formations during football season.

The 92-page investigative report issued by the Office of University Compliance found:

  • Band members swore oaths not to disclose secret traditions;
  • The “Midnight Ramp” tradition called for members to march into the football stadium wearing only their underwear;
  • Rookies were assigned nicknames by upperclassmen, including sexually explicit monikers such as Captain Dildo, Testicles and Boob Job;
  • Students performed “tricks” on demand or of their own volition at parties or on trips. A woman whose nickname was Squirt would sit on laps, including her younger brother’s, and pretend to orgasm.

 

Witnesses describe the marching band as a family and a guy’s club where intimidation and alcohol abuse are part of the culture. Investigators concluded that band staff witnessed and permitted the student misconduct. Pamela Bork, a physical therapist who volunteered with the band for 18 years, resigned after an away game road trip to California in September 2013. Bork told investigators that Waters refused to address the alcohol abuse on the trip. Other witnesses said Waters wanted to be “the cool guy” in the band and friends with the students.

Long bus trips seemed to be where much of the harassment took place. Investigators said rookies, or new band members, were introduced using sex props or dirty jokes and were groped and given “mid-term exams” that involved sexually explicit behavior on the bus. A “Trip Tic,” an anonymous newsletter circulated on the bus, disparaged members. A songbook with alternate misogynistic and sexual lyrics to Ohio State and other college fight songs was circulated. And members performed “flying 69” where two students would hang upside down from the bus luggage rack or allow others to hold them up in the air.

The report also noted that Waters nearly botched the handling of a sexual harassment complaint in March 2013 by insisting that both the victim and harasser be forced to skip a game. That could have been seen as retaliation against the woman who filed the complaint. And investigators noted one band member was expelled after he sexually assaulted a female band mate in the fall of 2013.

The university pledged to change the band culture through training, counseling, communication, monitoring and culture checks.

The move comes on the heels of the band earning national recognition for its complex half-time shows that have garnered millions of views on YouTube. The band was also featured in a national advertising campaign for iPads after Waters issued the notebook computers to each member to chart the complicated shows.

In November 2011, Florida A&M band drum major Robert Champion collapsed and died following a hazing incident on the band bus. The band was suspended for two years and several members faced criminal charges.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in News

Clerk can’t read robber’s note because of messy handwriting, police say 
Clerk can’t read robber’s note because of messy handwriting, police say 

A robbery suspect’s handwriting was so undecipherable that a store clerk handed the demand note back to the man Thursday and asked him to read it, police said. Dion Taylor walked into a Family Dollar around 7:30 p.m. and handed the clerk the note, according to WKBN. The clerk handed it back to Taylor when he could not understand what was...
Bill Clinton tweets about ‘bugged’ Clinton Center, pokes fun at Trump
Bill Clinton tweets about ‘bugged’ Clinton Center, pokes fun at Trump

  Former President Bill Clinton took a jab at President Donald Trump on Sunday with a Twitter photo of himself next to a giant bug sculpture outside the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas. “BREAKING: We just learned that the @ClintonCenter has been bugged,” Clinton tweeted with the photo. Clinton...
Premier, UnitedHealthcare negotiations continue over health plans
Premier, UnitedHealthcare negotiations continue over health plans

Contract talks between the region’s largest health system and insurer United Health Care remain at an impasse as a deadline approaches that could jeopardize the health plans of up to 70,000 local residents. Premier Health and UnitedHealthcare, one of the largest group health insurers in the area, have been at an impasse in talks to renew their...
Clark County Common Pleas Court cases
Clark County Common Pleas Court cases

COMMON PLEAS COURT NEW SUITS 17-DS-0351 - Shamir Cooper, Fairborn, and James Cooper, 1211 S. Wittenberg Ave., petition for dissolution of marriage. 17-DS-0353 - Sean T. Brooks, South Vienna, and Jennifer L. Brooks, South Vienna, petition for dissolution of marriage. 17-DS-0354 - Amy J. May, 2690 Cleve Ave., and William D. May, 2440 Red Coach Dr., petition...
Man indicted on felony charge after violent argument over biscuits
Man indicted on felony charge after violent argument over biscuits

An Alabama man has been indicted on a felony domestic violence charge for a September 2016 argument over biscuits that turned violent. Billy George Phillips II, 33, of Hartselle, was arrested Thursday on a charge of domestic violence by strangulation or suffocation, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office reported. In Alabama, that charge is...
More Stories