Following a two-month investigation after a parent complaint was filed last May, Jonathan Waters, the director of Ohio State’s marching band, was fired after a university investigation revealed a “sexualized” culture among band members, the university announced Thursday.
The report, which was posted by the Columbus Dispatch, said examples of abuse included band members posing in sexual positions on bus rides and a practice of marching at midnight wearing only underwear. The report also says new band members were assigned obscene nicknames.
During the midnight marches, known as “Midnight Ramp,” Waters was allegedly supervising, according to the report.
“Two witnesses indicated that a few Band members get completely naked. According to one female witness, more senior members of the Band warn new members to wear comfortable (fuller coverage) underwear before Midnight Ramp. She also stated that female members have gone shopping together at Victoria’s Secret to buy underwear for the event. “
The ritual was unsupervised before 2010. A student suffered alcohol poisoning that year and the event became a supervised activity.
About two weeks after Waters was informed the band was being investigated, he told the University that he had spoken to band leaders about whether or not the ritual was “necessary.”
• As for derogatory nicknames, go ahead and take a few guesses. You’ll probably be able to guess a few. The Factory is a family site,and you’ll have to check out the report to see what terms were used (Pages 5-6).
Upperclassmen gave nicknames to new band members. One witness said that in 2013, all three new members of one row had sexual nicknames.
The report also states that in 2012, the band director urged his students to go easy on offensive nicknames, but that advice apparently fell on deaf ears.
When asked, Waters denied using the nicknames. He estimated that 50 percent of the band’s current nicknames were sexual or offensive, and answered 50 percent. When asked why he then tolerates such sexual nicknames, Waters replied, “Good point.”
* Like the nicknames, a number of the allegations regarding “tricks” in the report can’t be published. A few that can be written here include:
-“A female student would sing sexually explicit songs about someone. Her nickname was
-A student would act as if he was outside a strip club soliciting clientele, saying “girls, girls, we have these types of girls.” His nickname was ‘Barker.’
According to the report, Waters knew nothing about tricks and he added that he didn’t believe these events were “performed on Band time.”
The investigation determined that Waters, 38, was aware of the culture but “failed to eliminate it, prevent its recurrence and address its effects.”
Following Waters’ dismissal, Ohio State president Michael Drake said the University must abide by a zero tolerance policy.