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Letter to the editor: Ohio State not seeking change in the right way with band director’s firing

August 3, 2014

blue.917@osu.edu

Letter to the editor:

As a proud Buckeye and someone with an extreme no-tolerance policy on sexual harassment, I was automatically torn between embarrassment and pride when the news broke of Jonathan Waters’ termination. Embarrassment that an organization our Buckeyes take such pride in – our band – was making headlines for all of the wrong reasons, and pride that our university seemed to finally be championing a stricter stance toward Title IX infractions.

As time has set in and students started speaking out, I have found myself questioning whether or not this was the way to go about bringing change to the culture of sexual harassment within the band and the university as a whole. It seems to me that the culture that Jonathan Waters was fired for was not a product of his actions or even inaction. That culture is a product of an entire university of inaction, looking for a scapegoat in one man.

The issue we should focus our attention towards as we move forward as a community is not Jonathan Waters. Placing all of the blame on one man and calling it a day is not productive to the cause – in fact, it only creates outrage that positions thousands of Buckeyes against the cause. Making significant strides to change the culture in not just the band, but Ohio State as a whole, means taking responsibility on several levels of administration and teaching those in power the language they need to understand why the culture is wrong and how to address it. Give people like Jonathan Waters the tools to change the culture before you blame them for their inability to do so.

Change starts from the top. Maybe if OSU’s administration wants to promote actual change (as it should), officials should be shifting their gaze towards the incredible number of sexual assault survivors on campus who feel failed by their university, policies that lack power to prevent or punish instances of harassment and assault and training programs that can prevent harassment and assault. By all means, make a change. Just make the right one.

Jennifer Blue
Class of 2012
Resident adviser/resident manager, Baker Hall West 2009-12
blue.917@osu.edu


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Comments (6)

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  1. Reality Check says:

    I appreciate the sentiment in this letter. But the fact remains the university is in a very precarious situation. Already having been cited by the Federal Government with 54 other schools for issues with Title IX compliance the university doesn’t have the luxury of seeing if Waters can figure it out. The report shows Waters was at best ineffective and slow to react to the climate. The university leadership has an obligation to act in the best interest of the university and by removing Waters that is exactly what they did. A fresh perspective from someone outside of the culture might be what is needed to really move the situation forward. Waters was given ample opportunities to respond and I believe had he shown more effort the university would have retained him. To keep Waters would have put the university at risk with the Federal government and opened up the possibility of lawsuits. One mistake by him opens the arguement that the university knew he was ineffective and kept him. What proof is there that he can do any better? There has been a failure by the administration to adequately address these issues. Getting rid of Waters is a step to start addressing those issues. One man or band is not above the university.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Maybe OSU would have that luxury of more time if they didn’t wait until it was too late to do something about Title IX issues in the first place, and that’s the point. Of course one man is not above the university, but the university should not be above taking responsibility as well.

  3. Proud Buckeye says:

    Some very good points are brought up in the article and following comments. We definitely need change and compliance from the top. Sexual harassment can not be tolerated at any level!! I hope and pray Mr. Waters was not made a scapegoat without adequate opportunity to change the band environment. However, we should be held accountable for our actions and for the actions of those we are responsible to lead. If improvement was not made during his tenure, then disciplinary action was required.

  4. Andy says:

    To “Reality Check”:

    The author at no point in the article said anything about reinstating Waters. She’s simply saying that by firing Jon Waters instead of giving him the resources to fix the standing issues, the university is trying to give the impression of change without actually changing anything. With those tactics, it’s not surprising that the university is under investigation for its awful handling of prior Title IX violations. By refusing to acknowledge that the “sexualized culture” is campus-wide, as opposed to centered in the marching band, university officials are setting themselves up for millions upon millions of dollars in litigation.

  5. glen b says:

    If this seems like overposting, I generally publish when I’ve been assaulted, or when my privacy is ignored, or when my cats cry out in pain by some action of government. I’ve been assaulted thousands of times over the past decade now, I’m sure that estimate is accurate….the other day one of my cats was bleeding, hair missing from its back, and two of them actually have scabs on their back as a result of being shot with energy weaponry. Tonight there were two dead cats on the road, along with a statement they had been ‘executed’. The federal government of course has all the power in the world to stop it. My tooth was knocked out in increments, over a 2 year span by energy weaponry assaults, for stating and proving the crimes committed by the federal government, torture by a government that has finally admitted it tortures.
    How can this happen? Among the ways–typically operating through puppets–including puppets in the judiciary–the right wing has for decades been committing crimes and trying to classify them to cover them up, a move explicitly forbidden by the Code of Federal Regulations. The right has accomplished its political objectives by presenting a fraction of the evidence to judicial officials who, having seen the pattern dozens of times before, could not help but realize that they were being presented with incomplete and inaccurate information.
    With either the willfully blind approval or the willful ignorance of the judiciary the right has killed & stolen several of my pets and routinely shoots energy weaponry at me and my pets. Recent harm to animals include: two kittens from a pregnant stray i took in were killed a few months ago. The remaining two, just 3 months old, shake their head as government operatives shoot them with energy weaponry. a decade of assault, and more recently 9th Circuit case 11-56043.

  6. glen b says:

    They shot the eye out or removed the eye of a large really good natured stray at the port, hobbled another cat at the port, shooting it with energy weaponry, and for years routinely killed and left dead animals in my path.

    A few years ago one of them threatened ‘we’ll just kill a cat every so often’, in so many words. This has continued despite my calls to the police, the FBI, Congress, and my petitions in court. In the usual case, it appears that the right goes to a judicial crony for a ruling permitting them to harm animals to retaliate against me for my free speech. The federal government, the right wing in particular, interfered with my personal life and economic options for 3 decades, so their solution to my noting it is to kill animals. Makes perfect sense right? It does if you’re a sociopathic criminal, criminally stupid, and hawkish. Invariably their lies are exposed and the wrongfulness of the harm is clear to everyone, though not until the animals have been maimed or killed. There is really only one solution, and that’s to disempower them politically and to impeach them.
    If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth, right? the Democrats’ great accomplishment is producing the political equivalent of a Rodney King video, clearly demonstrating the lies of the right, the right Hilary Clinton correctly identified as a vast conspiracy. Confirm by examining Central District of California Cases, 01-4340, 03-9097, 08-5515, 10-5193, US Tax Court 12000-07L –though I think you want to view my US Tax Court Appeal to the 9th Circuit for a good account of their day to day assaults, a few month time slice indicative of

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