Jonathan Waters, the marching band director at Ohio State University, has been fired after a he was accused of failing to stop an unhealthy sexual culture, harassment, and hazing within the band.
His lawyer told the Columbus Dispatch that he does not know what action he might take, suggesting he may fight the firing.
Here is what you need to know:
1. He Was Fired After Prolonged Investigation
Waters was fired after a two week investigation that concluded that he failed to stop a number of “traditions” that made some students uncomfortable, such as the yearly underwear-only marching band practice.
2. He Was Accused of Failing to Stop Sexual Harassment & Hazing in the Band
In 2013, a volunteer with the band quit after 18 years because her reports of rampant alcohol consumption and sexually explicit language were deeply ignored. She is quoted in the report of the investigation, which you can read above, as saying “If I have to hear the word ‘penis’ or ‘vagina’ one more time, I’m going to scream.”
At one point in the investigation, Waters was even accused of sending dirty limericks to students. The Columbus Dispatch reports that Waters failed to take a sexual-harassment training course as recommended.
3. OSU Has One of the Best & Most Famous Bands in the Country
Known as “The Best Damn Band in the Land,” the Ohio State marching band is known for their incredibly elaborate and well-rehearsed routines. Videos of their shows have also been known get millions of views online, like the video game themed show which you can watch above.
4. He Once Tried to Punish a Sexual Assault Victim
In the report listing the findings of the investigation, one passage reveals that in the fall of 2013, one band member sexually assaulted another band member, leading to the perpetrator’s expulsion. According to the report, the university’s legal affairs department needed to get involved after Waters initially decided that both the victim and perpetrator would be punished by being excluded from a band trip.
5. Students Preformed Sexually-Charged Hazing & Had Nicknames Like ‘Jizzy’
One of the most damning parts of the report comes from the section about “tricks,” tasks new band members, or “rookies” have to preform on command as a form of hazing. The “tricks” are often sexual in nature and involve a degrading and sexually explicit nickname.
The report describes one female student, called “Squirt” by her peers, who was forced to sit on the laps of fellow band members, including her brother, and pretend to orgasm. Other female students rubbed their chests together and were known as “Jewoobs” and “Tiggles.”
Another male student called “Jizzy” would simulate with his body a flaccid penis getting hard and spit candy.