Ohio State Marching Band Director Fired After Sexual Hazing Investigation

After conducting an internal investigation on its own marching band, the Ohio State University has decided to fire director Jonathan Waters. He was relieved of his position on Thursday after a two-month probe found “a deep culture of sexual harassment,” according to a report from The Columbus Dispatch

The two-month investigation , triggered by the complaint of a parent, revealed a cascade of evidence that students routinely harassed one another –– often directed at new band members by older students –– and that director Jonathan Waters knew about it or should have known.

Following is a sampling of the sexual hazing that the lengthy report describes.

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. 

OSU president Michael Drake released a video statement regarding the troubling news. According to Drake, the university has launched an immediate search to replace Waters, and will also “conduct an assessment of the band culture, review the administrative processes and oversight, and provide counsel on Title IX compliance.”

For more detail on the issues Ohio State faces with its marching band, I suggest checking out The Dispatch’s article.

Below is the report in its entirety.