In response to a complaint by a parent, Ohio State University launched a two-month investigation of its nationally renowned marching band. That investigation led to the firing of band director, Jonathan Waters. Waters had served as band director since October 2012, but he had been an assistant band director for a decade previous to that.
Business Insider has provided a concise summary of the major findings of the investigation, which were initially reported in the Columbus Dispatch:
“Several of the marching band’s traditions stemmed from offensive, often sexualized, nicknames given to new ‘rookie’ members, according to the investigation. Nicknames given to rookies mentioned in the report include ‘Twinkle Dick,’ ‘Jizzy,’ and ‘Jewoobs’ (given to a Jewish student with large breasts).
“The report states that rookies would often learn tricks associated with their nicknames. Here are some examples:
–A female student sitting on laps and pretending to orgasm. This included her sitting on her younger brother’s lap and pretending to orgasm on ‘make the Band night.’ Her nickname was ‘Squirt.’
–‘Two females rubbing their chests together. Their nicknames were ‘Jewoobs’ and ‘Tiggles.’
–A male student scooting across the floor on his hindquarters. His nickname was ‘Taint Brush.’
–A male student stamping other students’ foreheads with a penis stamp. His nickname was ‘Mushroom Stamp.’
“Another major tradition—which Waters reportedly ended this year—was ‘Midnight Ramp,’ where marching band members would march into the OSU stadium at midnight wearing only their underwear. While not every student participated in the midnight march, the report notes that some band members would march naked or go to Victoria’s Secret beforehand to purchase proper underwear.
“Alcohol was also reportedly a significant aspect of OSU marching band culture, with one student suffering alcohol poising a few years ago at Midnight March. According to the report, one student ‘described her first year in the Marching Band as ‘culture shock’ and cited alcohol consumption at away football games as an example. Several students stated that alcohol use and abuse is a large part of the Marching Band’s culture.’”
Waters’ attorney has asserted: “’Jonathan tried as hard as he could within the constraints imposed upon him to change that culture. He did his absolute best.’” The Dispatch article does seem to confirm that, as Band Director, he did make some significant changes, but it also suggests that much more change in the “culture” was obviously needed.
The full article at Business Insider is available at: http://www.businessinsider.com/ohio-state-marching-band-investigation-reveals-sexual-harassment-2014-7#ixzz38UOpU6uX
The full text of the article in the Columbus Dispatch is available at: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2014/07/24/ohio-state-band-waters.html
The full text of the report is available at: http://www.dispatch.com/content/downloads/2014/07/Investigation-Report.pdf