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'Sexualized' Culture Leads to Firing of Ohio State's Marching Band Director
July 25, 2014

The director of the Ohio State University marching band, who helped the band become YouTube sensations last year with complex, iPad-enhanced halftime shows, was fired Thursday following allegations that he ignored a longstanding culture of sexual harassment and hazing within the band.

Jonathan Waters has been the band's director since 2012, but has served in other roles with the band for a decade. He was fired following a two-month investigation by the university's office of compliance.

"[The investigation] found, among other things, very serious cultural issues and an environment conducive to sexual harassment with the band, creating a hostile environment for students," Michael Drake, the university's president, said in a video statement. "I was profoundly disappointed to learn this. We can -- and according to our values and Title IX we must -- do better. Even one incident of harassment or hazing or assault is one too many."

The alleged behavior included an annual student-led practice where students marched in their underwear at midnight, a tradition of assigning sexually explicit nicknames to rookie band members, and a raunchy unofficial songbook. The Columbus Dispatch has the full report here.

Drake said Betty Montgomery, Ohio's former attorney general, will lead an independent task force further investigating the report.

 

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