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Former Title IX coordinator: Ohio State mishandled band probe

August 27, 2014

Hickman.201@osu.edu
Former OSU Title IX coordinator Andrea Goldblum said the investigation into the marching band's culture could have been avoided had she been given proper support from the university to fulfill her Title IX duties. Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editor

Former OSU Title IX coordinator Andrea Goldblum said the investigation into the marching band’s culture could have been avoided had she been given proper support from the university to fulfill her Title IX duties.
Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editor

Roughly a month after Ohio State’s marching band director was fired for not doing enough to change a “sexualized culture” within the band, a former OSU Title IX coordinator came forward to say that the university has fallen short on its end as well.

Andrea Goldblum served as OSU’s Title IX coordinator from April 2013 until resigning in December. She came to OSU in 2005 as the director of student conduct.

She said she chose to leave because of internal problems with the Office of Compliance and Integrity, where her position was based. Goldblum said she felt the office wasn’t doing enough to support her in a way that fulfilled the university’s obligations to Title IX. Title IX says schools that receive federal funding can’t discriminate based on sex.

Former marching band director Jonathan Waters was fired July 24 after a two-month investigation into the marching band found a culture conducive to sexual harassment. It was determined Waters was aware or reasonably should have been aware of that culture but didn’t do enough to change it.

Goldblum spoke with The Lantern about the office’s handling of that investigation as well as a meeting with her, Waters and vice president and chief compliance officer of the Office of Compliance and Integrity, Gates Garrity-Rokous. She said things could have ended differently if Garrity-Rokous had let her do her job during that meeting.

“If somebody doesn’t stand up and say something, nothing’s going to change,” Goldblum said. “My interactions with the university thus far, it’s been about protecting people in power.”

In particular, Goldblum recalled a meeting with Waters that the former director said Tuesday he also remembers. But while Goldblum saw it as an opportunity to tackle Title IX issues, Waters said it was essentially a formality.

Later, Garrity-Rokous was not named among those who supervised the report that led to Waters’ dismissal, despite the fact that it was conducted by his office. When asked what role he played in the investigation, he said he “oversaw it” in responses emailed to The Lantern on Tuesday through OSU spokesman Chris Davey.

Garrity-Rokous oversees all compliance activity across the university and reports to senior management and the OSU Board of Trustees, according to the compliance office’s website. His experience in Title IX mostly comes from experience in general civil rights law, he said, as Title IX was an amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“I have worked fairly extensively with these non-discrimination statutes, as a compliance officer, as a compliance attorney, and as a federal prosecutor,” Garrity-Rokous said in the responses through Davey.

Goldblum said she filed a complaint with the university about Garrity-Rokous earlier this year. The Lantern did not immediately receive that report after filing a public records request for it Monday. It has also not received Garrity-Rokous’ employment file after initially requesting it on Aug. 14 or Goldblum’s employment file after requesting it Friday.

Goldblum was not part of the investigation that led to the termination of Waters. The investigation took place after she resigned. She said, however, the probe could have been avoided if Garrity-Rokous had let her intervene earlier.

Still, she said the investigation’s conclusion that the band contained a sexualized culture was accurate based on what she had experienced and heard.

Goldblum said the investigation could have been conducted in a more “defensible” way.

Goldblum also said Garrity-Rokous stood in the way of starting real progress on Title IX issues within the band, as he sometimes criticized her for being “too aggressive” with sexual harassment issues, including those within the marching band, she said.

In one instance, Goldblum said she and Garrity-Rokous met with Waters to discuss sexual harassment issues and the marching band shortly after she started as the Title IX coordinator in 2013. She said Garrity-Rokous dominated the conversation.

Waters said Tuesday he remembered that meeting, which was the only time he ever interacted with Garrity-Rokous, as more of a meet-and-greet with Garrity-Rokous and Goldblum.

“The meeting with Gates, it was like, ‘We’re here, we have a compliance office, let us know if you need anything,’” Waters said. “There were no directives given in that meeting, there was no training offer, there was no anything. It was more of just a formal introductory meeting.”

Waters said his interaction with the OSU’s Office of Compliance and Integrity prior to his firing was “minimal” with little guidance.

“If I wanted training for the band, I sought it. If I wanted training for the leaders, I sought it. If I wanted to know who to report an issue to, I sought it. No one from compliance taught me how to do these things,” Waters said. “We were left to fend for ourselves with the rules and regulations the compliance office had.”

But despite her complaints about the compliance office, Goldblum said there are people doing quality work on Title IX issues across campus.

“There are some really, really good people on the ground working on sexual violence issues and they’re really good and they are really caring and they do it because it’s right for the students and because it’s right for the community,” she said.

This is part one of a two-part series The Lantern is running about how the band investigation was handled and how the Office of Compliance and Integrity operates.


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Comments (33)

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  1. William Curtis says:

    “based on what she had experienced and heard” She was a member of the band? What experience with the band did she have?
    Did the investigator(s) interview any of the squad leaders of the band? 30 have come forward to challenge the reports findings.
    A group of very determined alumni, many present while Jon was either the assistant or the leader, challenge the report findings.
    These people appear to be paid only to find wrong, and ignore positives.Therefore, their reports are less than reliable. The present report a good case in point.
    A pitiful report to destroy a deserved reputation and a career.
    Shame on the authors, Shame on the University for not doing more investigation, and Shame on the board of trustees for relying on such a bad report.
    They know what they must do to correct this situation, and their leadership can only be described as pitiful. Now one alumni is withholding up to $150,000,000.00, and many more small donors refuse to give under the present leadership – or lack thereof.
    Bill Curtis 64
    50 years a Buckeye graduate, never so ashamed of our university!

  2. Wow! One hundred fifty million! That is one way to get attention!

  3. Buckeye in the West says:

    The more stories like this come out, the more the administration of Ohio State looks like a bigger bunch of fools. Anyone who attended Ohio State knew that the administration lived in some alternate universe; now the rest of the world does too.

    As each day goes by, we have found out the School of Music politics played a political role in this part of ineptitude. A complince office which provided an “investigative report” that was sophomoric in its preparation. A board of trustees and President, which took, said report, as gospel and effective said “with Title IX; violation are handled with zero tolerance”. Band members, band alumni alumni and a band director which were crucified, villified and sacrificed. A number of very insulted and upset alumni, and current students. Finally, Ohio State’s reputation, with the band, its students and alumni drawn through the mud in the court of public opinion.

    I do not agree with Ms. Goldblum that this office was full of good, hard working people. They conducted themselves like those who conducted the Salem Witch Hunts. The needed to prove to the world they wwre doing their job and they needed someone to sacrifice; in the process. They needed to show that they enforced Title IX, becaus ethey were not doing their job. Ms. Goldblum’s resignation is indicative of a dysfunctional organization.

    Somewhere, in Ohio State’s ivory tower there are people who gleefully got what they wanted; the power to appoint their band director of choice. But, was it worth it to make Ohio State the target of ridicule? To make its proud alumni, and students, now see their Alma Mater besmirched? To be asshamed of putting Ohio State on their resumes? To have benefactors stop donations?

    Not only should Jon Waters sue the parties involved, but so should current band members, band alumni and alumni sue the Ohio State Administration. Not for money, but to have anyone involved with this utter disaster terminated for gross incompetence, defamation of character, libel and slander.

  4. Sarah Terry says:

    I stand behind Jon Waters and think that how the situation was handled is shameful. The university has been spending a lot of time and money over the past years to change the culture of supervision and then totally does a complete reversal in this matter. Where does “Be Here Now” get placed in this situation. Where does operating from a positive place enter into this situation. There are always 3 sides to every situation and clearly, Jon Waters is not being given an opportunity to be heard by the appropriate officials. It is so sad and as a recent retire, I have never been so embarrassed of my former employer, which I have staunchly supported for 32 years. I am a second generation employee so I have been connected with OSU for 49 of my 55 years on this earth and have always believed in the integrity of the university…until now.

  5. John Lennon says:

    Something is going on that we don’t know about and I’d love to know what. Right now it seems the new president is either totally unreasonable, or he’s being used by somebody for their own purposes. Either way, he’s getting off to the same kind of start that the woman president did a while back when she made senior citizens stop drinking at noon on game days to stem the rioting of teens at midnight a mile from campus. I’m starting out with a very negative view of Drake, and I’m really not sure if that’s fair or not.

  6. Former Buckeye says:

    Buckeye in the West: she said good people on the ground, not in Compliance. There are many first responders, like Student Advocacy, Sexual Violence Program, Counseling and Student Conduct.

  7. Jonathan Picking says:

    Former Buckeye – imagine if they took the six-figure salary of Chris Glaros and used it to fully fund those organizations!

  8. Fritz Saenger, Jr Engineering, 1960 says:

    First,it’s important to understand that the “tradition” of hazing new members of the band was long standing when I was in school fifty years ago. I was not in the band, but had many friends who were, and I am still in contact with some of them today. Second, with the introduction of women (in the 1970′s, I think) provided an “opportunity” for broadening the base for harassment. The dismissal of Mr. Waters suggests that he was responsible for the practices.
    I don’t question that he should have known better, but his supervisors had the responsibility to make it clear that he had to change the culture, and to work with him, setting goals and deadlines. He says that never happened, and no one in his “chain of command” has disputed his claim. To summarize, I believe strongly that he has been made the scapegoat for a broad range of management failures, and I too am considering withholding future contributions to the University until there is a fair resolution of this matter.

  9. Former Buckeye says:

    Jonathan Picking: you are right! And What does Garrity-rookus make? $300,000? So much good could be done with that.

  10. Debbie Testement says:

    As a ’72 alum, I am for the first time in my alumni life/career very ashamed of my university. It appears to me that this “very well connected to DC” compliance office is bringing to The Ohio State University their ” brand” of politics of destruction.
    It is all about their power & self egos! We went to Ivy League schools like Columbia or Harvard! We went to Stanford….connection to BOT/Wadsworth & new President Drake! We will teach you how stupid you are OSU. We will train & mold you in our likeness!
    Not so fast! When we alums stop alumni donations, we will get our message across loud & clear!

  11. It's Public Information says:

    Name: Garrity-Rokous, Edward Gates
    Employed since 9/24/2012
    Department: Sr VP – Bus and Finance Admin
    Title: VP & Chief Compliance Officer
    Full-time equivalent 1
    Annual base salary: $390,000.00
    Year: 2013

  12. Jeff Cox says:

    Fritz Saenger,

    I don’t believe “hazing” means what you think it means. Even the execrable Glaros Report does not allege hazing,” though it is intentionally written to imply it, and nothing in it could be defined, either legally or practically, as “hazing.” Perhaps there was actual hazing back when you were in school, but it was gone before I started in band in 1989. And I highly doubt it made a return.

  13. Classof2000 says:

    This is a self-serving interview for Goldblum. She resigned (apparently in protest) and wants to tell everybody how she would do it better. Well of course she would (can you sense my sarcasm?).

    What scares me is this office is full of people with law degrees that all signed-off on, supervised over or took at face value that poorly constructed, poorly written Glaros Report.

    If the Lantern wants to interview someone; interview Chris Glaros, ask for his resume and educational records, because the accreditation of the university that gave him a degree should be yanked. Find out his politics. Find out where he draws his sense of justice. Do a report on him; only talk to his enemies, ignore anything positive you may hear, embellish anything negative you hear and sensationalize it all in a context that makes him look as bad as possible. Then, see how HE likes it.

  14. mark novon says:

    classic case of the inmates have taken over the nut house at the Ohio state university located & starting in this so called spineless president office named dr drake…..maybe he should think about a new career in music…..

  15. Doug says:

    Ms. Goldblum says the report was “accurate based on what she had experienced and heard.” Has she experienced or heard any of the hundreds that have come forward to refute the claims of the report? Has she talked with the 6 out of 9 witnesses who say their interview testimony is reported contrary to their message. The report is the sloppiest example of an “investigation” I have ever seen.

    My wife and I are embarrassed to be associated with organizations (OSU and OSUAA) in such a hurry to throw Mr. Waters under the bus. I am a former member of the OSUMB (’82-’86.) Our three sons have been in the band for 13 years, so far. The report does not accurately portray the band’s culture over the last 30 years.

    Culture change is a constant battle. I work for a $40B conglomerate. Despite the fact that Bendix, Garrett, AiResearch, Sperry, etc. all ceased to exist as much as 20, 30, 40 years ago, you can see the distinct culture of those organizations still present at the locations that once had those names over the door. This despite decades of daily effort to guide the organization to a single culture. The notion that culture will change overnight is foolish and naive. The next round of investigations needs to be careful about another ham-handed attempt to “fix” something that has yet to be proven to be broken. Who wants to TMADITL (The Most Average Band In The Land) performing in Ohio Stadium?

  16. Scott Laidig says:

    “Still, she said the investigation’s conclusion that the band contained a sexualized culture was accurate based on what she had experienced and heard.”

    If she “heard” something, why didn’t she do something? Probably because she had no initiative.

    As for Garrity-Rokous, how can a person making $300,000+ not have a direct hand in an investigation into one of the most prominent organizations at tOSU? Probably because he didn’t want to get his hands dirty.

    Neither Goldblum nor Garrity-Rokous, not Dr. Drake for that matter, appear to have basic leadership skills. This is the gang that can’t shoot straight.

    I stand with Jon Waters. If he is not reinstated, I hope he gets a boatload of $$$$. In the meantime,Ohio State will get no more of mine.

  17. Yeah, sure.......... says:

    Right on Class of 2000 and I’m with you Scott.
    The Glaros “report” is a bad joke and tOSU will not get another dime from me.
    The Title IX compliance people NEVER met with the OSUMB but found fit to label them ALL as harassers and perverts, but that was ok because they are in control?

    tOSU thought is they ignored the outcry, we would go away. Obviously they don’t know much about Buckeyes, do they?

  18. OSU Alumnus says:

    It is truly unfortunate that alumni are choosing to revoke gifts because of this situation. Because of this, current students who need scholarship support now more than ever, will have to suffer. Pulling funds doesn’t hurt Dr. Drake, it directly hurts our current students who need it the most. Very sad.

  19. Ernie Mac says:

    Something is very rotten in the administration and governance of our beloved university. The “handling” of Andy Geiger’s leaving over the Maurice Clarett situation, Karen Holbrook’s dismissal to allow Gordon Gee to return, Jim Tressel’s firing, Gordon Gee’s departure and now the band matter suggest, at a minimum, that the university has run amok. No university has suffered as many national embarrassments as Ohio State during the past 10 years. I also understand that Christine Poon, Dean of the Fisher College of Business, is leaving due to frustrations with the university administration.

    It all starts with the Board of Trustees which needs to do some real soul-searching to determine the root causes of the problems, rather than constantly looking for scapegoats. Its lack of strong leadership and incompetency is destroying a great brand and university.

  20. John L says:

    OSU Alumnus says:
    August 27, 2014 at 11:50 am

    “It is truly unfortunate that alumni are choosing to revoke gifts because of this situation. Because of this, current students who need scholarship support now more than ever, will have to suffer. Pulling funds doesn’t hurt Dr. Drake, it directly hurts our current students who need it the most. Very sad.”
    —————————–
    I agree completely with the sentiment – it is sad that current students might have to bear some of the consequences of Drake’s mishandling of the situation. However, it does hurt Dr. Drake when the university loses tens of millions of dollars of funding, as a direct result of his actions. The unfortunate truth is that money is the only way to get the attention of Drake and the BoT, and it’s the only way this situation will be corrected. Between the pulling of donations and the costly lawsuits looming ahead, Drake will find himself increasingly challenged justifying his position.

    On the other hand, I do sincerely hope that this is not indicative of a long term drop in donations. As soon as the desired change in administration behavior is achieved, I hope that these principled donors will continue their contributions.

  21. oldeagle says:

    In my opinion, I fear the OSU Administration and BOT are so isolated from the Students, Alumni and Buckeye Fans of OSU, that they are not too concerned about what we all feel and think of their actions. As a former 3-year member of OSUMB in the ’50s, and a graduate of OSU, I feel the rush-to-judgment firing of Jon Waters is just another unfortunate blight on the honor and prestige of a great university. The present OSU Administration and BOT no longer warrant my financial support.

  22. Curious in Columbus says:

    Given that Ms. Golblum’s complaint against Mr. Garrity-Rokous was filed “earlier this year,” we can no doubt expect a report of investigation soon. In the interest of fairness, one would hope that Mr. Garrity-Rokous will have had an opportunity to present his side.

    It certainly appears that with regard to the meeting involving Mr. Garrity-Rokous, Ms. Goldblum, and Mr. Waters, the account of Ms. Goldblum is not inconsistent with that of Mr. Waters. It also appears that the meeting took place at a time when some of the events of March 2013 mentioned in the Report of Investigation could have been on the agenda if there were any unresolved issues. Mr. Waters’s account of this meeting is not inconsistent with his personnel files, which reflect favorably on him.

    Although Ms.Goldblum’s comments in this article seem to agree with the position of Mr. Waters, as noted above, her comments seem to be at odds with the gist of the July 30 story “Former Ohio State Title IX coordinator: ‘My leaving had nothing to do with the band situation’” . So which is it, Ms. Goldblum? Did you leave because of “the band situation” or not? Her complaint will no doubt enlighten us.

    Is it possible that the Report of Investigation had as much to do with Ms.Goldblum’s dissatisfaction with Mr. Garrity-Rokous as it did with her dissatisfaction with Mr. Waters? Did her dispute with Mr. Garrity-Rokous keep him on the sidelines while his staff, operating without either his guidance or a Title IX expert, hastily produced a report with glaring errors?

    If the Office had waited just one more day, it would have had a new Title IX specialist on board. Was there a concern that the new Title IX specialist would tear up the draft and start over?

    What on earth is going on in the Compliance Office?

  23. Lynn Cohen says:

    OMG!!!! It’s Public Information – please tell me that guy doesn’t make $390,000!!!!

  24. Ohio State Inc. says:

    This article almost seems like a plant by the administration.

    Meet the stooge who will take the bullet on behalf of the rest of the incompetent administration at Ohio State Inc.

    Sorry, Gates Garrity-Rokous, the music has stopped and you don’t have a seat.

    In a sick paradox, I am sadly glad that people are realizing how my once-great University chooses to do its business. Tactics such as these (e.g. railroading people, smear campaigns) have been used for a while now, since at least Gee II, but dissidents against the University have been efficiently marginalized. Those voices are rarely heard. Thank you for that, Mr. Waters.

    If any good can come from this disaster, it will be that sunlight has been shined on the seedy backrooms where the greasy decisions get made.

    Provided that the groundswell continues, this is an opportunity to effect real change at high levels in the University. Not just the President, but the Board of Trustees. They all need to go. It needs to happen badly.

    Sure, students will feel the pain directly from alumni withholding donations, and I’m sorry about that, but that’s the only effective way that smaller donating alums can be heard.

    Withhold alumni dollars. Write the Ohio Board of Regents. Tell them to clean house.

  25. Buckeye in the West says:

    You know something is not right when

    Name: Garrity-Rokous, Edward Gates
    Employed since 9/24/2012
    Department: Sr VP – Bus and Finance Admin
    Title: VP & Chief Compliance Officer
    Full-time equivalent 1
    Annual base salary: $390,000.00
    Year: 2013

    Make twice that of the Governor of Ohio.

    Yes, I know Urban Meyer makes much more, but his salary is paid by Ticket revenue. This guy is paid by Ohio taxpayers and student fees.

  26. Don't Let Up Lantern says:

    To the person named “OSU Alumnus” who wrote in today at 11:50 a.m.: how wrong you are sir or madam! The c-level leadership at OSU have a tremendous amount of bonus money to gain by reaching the goal of the bazillion dollar campaign that is close to wrapping up. These guys in the c suite are dying a thousand deaths with the latest announcement from this ballsy alumnus from 1964 who went public saying osu is cut off from his $150 million windfall. Oops! What’s that you said sir??? The chief fundraising office Eicher is doing some shucking and jiving with his false gratitude. Save it for someone who’s never been in a barnyard mister Eicher.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Alright… the Waters supporters are still wrong about his firing… but this is some shady stuff happening in the upper halls of the administration and it most definitely was not Drake that created it.
    Here’s hoping he lives through the coming battle.

  28. 88embarassedAlum says:

    The only possible way to institute change is to stay on top of this and to voice our disdain every day and in every way. Money is the biggest possible way. I am sorry it will hurt in the short term but it must fix many things in the long run. This is the problem with our Republic. We refuse to stand up for ourselves or for what is right. If we as alums don’t make a stand now our once proud university will continue the path of embarrassment it is now on. Fight Jon Fight. We stand with you.

  29. Romeogirl says:

    Kudos to Goldblum for standing up and moving on. It’s hard to fight the GOBs.

  30. TMH says:

    It sounds like there are more problems with the internal workings of tOSU than just Title IX. Anyone who has ever worked with Human Resources and Compliance issues know you ALWAYS document meetings such as this, allow each party to submit a their response and provide a copy of the documentation acknowledge by all those involved. That way you have evidence should it ever be needed for further discipline or legal proceedings. If this is not being done by departments like the Compliance Office, tOSU has much bigger issues than band culture.

  31. Nuke Dave says:

    Being a graduate of Ohio University, I am amazed at the actions of the new administration of Dr. Drake. First there seems to be a rush to judgement and a firing of Jon Waters, the band director. This should heve been a singular action, but it was not. In firing him they also announce a second investigation into the matter being lead by Betty Montgomery at what cost? Given the public polls and the open announcement from a large donor potentially withholding a rather large donation Dr. Drake is still standing firm on a decision, based on incorrect information. What will it take for the administration to realize that they may have made an error in judgement? Being that this is Dr. Drake’s first large decision as President of The Ohio State University, when will he realize that this was the beginning of his end? When will public opinion start to call for the removal of Dr. Drake, based upon his action so far as president. The Board of Trustee’s meeting today should be interesting to see if the turnout is what they expect and who will be allowed to speak.

  32. Lowell Ramey says:

    We have a board that wants a marionette in the Presidents Office … Another Karen Holbrook … Well, we’ve lived through that once and it did not work out so well. By clinging to this outrageous decision Dr. Drake has politically put himself in a position where the board will dictate his actions from here on out. He still has time to recover his position by piblically claiming that the report is flawed, reinstating Waters until a real and impartial report can be generated, and by dismissing Gates “I used to be a federal prosecuter” Garrity-Rokous for his complete lack of competence in running his office. We should be celebrating the beginning of the football season, a time when all of ofvus who have loved this university have a chance to get together, but instead have to put up with this gross incompetence, intransigence, and utter foolishness of this board and this president. Thanks for putting your egos ahead of the good of the University fellas.

  33. Rick Stockum says:

    It has been reported that Archie Griffin supports President Drake which is his right. However, I do not want the OSU Alumni Association to influence their members’ opinion about the way the University is handling the scandal they created by issuing a 23 page report consisting almost entirely of salacious material. I waded through the disgusting report to find the sources they used and found none. Undocumented reports are propaganda in my book. I am waiting for a reply from Archie Griffin’s assistant Sherri More about instructions they may have given to chapter presidents. I am also waiting for a response about this from the OSU Alumni Club of Greater Cleveland. I hope others will look into this as well.

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