Former Ohio State marching band director Jonathan Waters seems to have been caught on tape yelling at a student.
Waters was fired Thursday after a two-month OSU investigation into a complaint from a band member’s parent found “serious cultural issues and an environment conducive to sexual harassment within the marching band,” according to an OSU statement. It was found that Waters was either aware of or reasonably should have been aware of that culture but did not do enough to address it.
Part of the investigation looked at whether Waters was “sometimes abusive towards students.” The report cited two examples of Waters yelling and cursing at students, one of which was corroborated by multiple witnesses and another that was supported by an audio recording.
That audio was recorded in September by the student being yelled at, and was obtained by The Lantern Friday. It captures what sounds like Waters berating a band member and using expletives after what seems to have been a problem during practice.
“We told you to do something on the field and you outright disrespected (associate director Christopher Hoch) and me,” Waters said. “This will not stand. We tell you to stand on your head, and as drum major, you’ll stand on your g—— head if you want to be drum major.”
The student repeatedly tells Waters that he understands but the reason for the scolding is never explicitly stated.
Editor’s note: This recording contains explicit language.
The OSU statement issued Thursday said former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery has been appointed to lead a task force that will further review the band’s culture. That task force will include representatives from Ernst & Young, which is set to conduct an investigatory review, the Sports Conflict Institute, which will conduct a separate independent review and “outside counsel” that will guide the task force on Title IX compliance.
Title IX is a section of the Education Amendments of 1972 that aims to protect against discrimination based on sex in education programs that receive federal funding.
The marching band is still making appearances, including a performance Friday night with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra at Picnic with the Pops. OSU concert band director Russell Mikkelson and Columbus Symphony resident director Albert-George Schram are set to conduct the band in Waters’ place.
OSU said in the Thursday statement it is in the process of finding an interim band director.
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