A former member of Ohio State’s marching band has written an open letter to the university’s president protesting the firing of band director Jonathan Waters amid findings of widespread hazing in the band, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported. Alexandra Clark, the band alumna, says she embraced the sexual nickname older bandmates assigned her. That nickname – “Joobs” – didn’t bother her when she was in the band. But the university, she contends, has made it into something shameful.
When Ohio State fired Waters last week, the university made public a report chronicling acts of hazing and sexual harassment that occurred in the band. One objectionable practice, the university found, was the assignment of denigrating nicknames to new members. The report listed nicknames such as “Jizzy” and “Twinkle Dick.”
Discussion of Band Hazing
Inside Higher Ed's weekly news podcast, This Week, will explore the implications of the Ohio State hazing debate, among other topics. Sign up here to receive email notification about new editions of This Week.
One nickname received a note of explanation. Next to “Jewoobs,” the report added: “given to a Jewish student with large breasts.”
“I’m the “Jewoobs” that the entire Internet seems to be talking about,” Clark wrote, in what may be a slight overstatement. The former band member, who was in the band until 2011, said the institution "turned a lighthearted joke and rookie name given to me by my row mates with my full consent into something shameful.”
“What is truly shocking about [the university’s report] is not the list of antics by a group of hormone filled college students, but the complete lack of respect for the privacy and dignity of the band members,” Clark wrote. “Included in the list of “offensive” rookie nicknames are things like Donk, Tulsa, Tiggles, and Jewoobs. Ohio State clearly had no interest in learning anything about these strong, intelligent women and instead decided that their delicate feminine sensibilities needed to be defended by adding their names to a list of things they feel the Buckeye community should feel disgusted and ashamed about.”
She said her best friends still call her “Joobs.”
Clark is not the only former band member to protest Waters’s firing. An alumni-driven petition demanding that Ohio State reinstate Waters has garnered more than 7,000 signatures. And an online fund raising money for Waters and his family “to use in the way they deem neccesary” [sic] has attracted almost $13,000 in donations in four days.
A group of about 15 marching band alumni, mostly women, marched across Ohio State’s campus Monday to demand Waters’ reinstatement, the Columbus Dispatch reported. Waters’ supporters say the university didn’t give him enough time to change the marching band’s culture.