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Meeting about band culture draws discord

August 28, 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

After weeks of back-and-forth allegations between Ohio State and ousted marching band director Jonathan Waters, there seems to be disagreement about how hard the university pushed to change a “sexualized” culture within the band prior to Waters’ firing.

For one, records and interviews indicate former Title IX coordinator Andrea Goldblum and compliance chief Gates Garrity-Rokous didn’t agree on what actually happened during a meeting they had with Waters to address a sexual harassment complaint within the band.

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.

Garrity-Rokous, Goldblum — who resigned in December — and Waters met in spring 2013 after allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct in the band surfaced. While all parties have since agreed on what spurred that meeting, each seems to have a different perspective on what actually happened when they were together. 

The meeting was scheduled to ensure Waters understood his Title IX responsibilities in light of an allegation of sexual misconduct within the OSU Athletic Band, Garrity-Rokous said in a statement emailed to The Lantern Wednesday by OSU spokesman Chris Davey. Garrity-Rokous said he was at the meeting to ensure Waters understood he had to listen to Goldblum’s direction.

“The very purpose of the meeting was to support Ms. Goldblum, as the Title IX coordinator, in ensuring that Title IX requirements were followed,” Garrity-Rokous said. 

Goldblum, however, said Garrity-Rokous constantly spoke over her during the meeting, preventing any real Title IX progress from happening. That kind of behavior was common for Garrity-Rokous, she said.

“I started to ask questions to get down into figuring out what had happened from their (band director’s) perspective, why it had happened and to start investigating. That’s why I was there,” Goldblum told The Lantern. “Gates just spoke over me and wouldn’t allow me to continue.”

After the meeting, Goldblum said Garrity-Rokous spoke down to her and told her she had been too aggressive.

“Gates said to me in a very condescending tone, ‘Andrea, you’ve never been a federal prosecutor like I was, so you don’t understand how to do these things,’” she said.

But Garrity-Rokous said those weren’t his words. 

“I did not use the quoted language, and my tone was consistent with my intent to help her improve her effectiveness in her new role,” he said.

And Waters said Tuesday he remembered the meeting as more of a meet-and-greet with Garrity-Rokous and Goldblum, rather than a chance to address any major sexual harassment concerns.

“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.”

Garrity-Rokous said Waters never informed the compliance office of any instances of the band’s sexualized culture that were found in the OSU investigation the following year. That investigation report was what led to his firing July 24, and it listed examples of issues like sexualized nicknames, mistreatment of younger band members and inappropriate behavior on band buses.

Goldblum said instances like the meeting with Waters and other internal problems within the Office of Compliance and Integrity — where her position was based — prevented her from executing proper Title IX reform within the band and across the university. 

Earlier this year, a third-party attorney was assigned by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to investigate complaints of gender and disability discrimination made by Goldblum. An investigative report based on those complaints concluded there was insufficient evidence to support Goldblum’s claims. The Lantern obtained that investigation report Wednesday to fill a public records request filed Monday. 

The Lantern has not received Garrity-Rokous’ employment file after initially requesting it on Aug. 14 or Goldblum’s employment file after requesting it Friday.

Waters was fired because the report found he was aware, or reasonably should have been aware, of that culture but didn’t do enough to change it.

This is part two 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 (8)

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  1. Hmmm says:

    I wonder why OSU won’t provide his employment file? Maybe because it contains evidence that shows he is as Ms. Goldblum describes?

  2. Anonymous says:

    If there was such discord / obvious interpersonal conflict in the dynamic in the room between Ms. Goldblum and Gates Garrity-Rokous how could anyone take much away from such an administration disaster? If Jon Waters considered it more a meet and greet because of their failed ability to effectively communicate with him, how is that his fault?

    Further, Jon Waters would not have reported on a sexualized culture after this meeting because 1) the majority of nicknames listed were given out before his tenure – many of those named were not even in the band when he became Director, and 2) no one with nicknames felt there were any problems with them and in fact, embraced them with a sense of humor.

    The entire campus, turning on the television, or opening a magazine to see Victoria Secret ads makes our world a sexualized culture. Perhaps there should be some anthropology involved in the further debunking of the Glaros Report to define these loosely thirst about terms that have made the document so sensational. The Glaros report is a complication of ancient or skewed information. Jon cannot be responsible for what occurs outside band in private parties or homes, but when an alleged ‘sexual assault’ did occur, it was reported correctly and swiftly with appropriate action. And in the incident in Athletic band involved two consul students who were in a relationship before and since and who simply got caught and hatched up a lie to try to cover the deed. Jon wasn’t even on that trip.

    The timeline (I’m sure Mr. Axelrod has this already) will show that Jon had made sweeping changes to band culture from the time he could make change. His authority was severely limited previously under Dr. Woods. But once Jon did have authority – he not only by issued demands in some cases, but largely motivated the students through discussion and leadership training to actually take ownership of change. A smart model in any cultural change management. When those at the lower level embrace change because they own it, change is most successful. This is a standard business model for brand engagement, change management, and more.

    It is interesting to note that OSU Office of Compliance and Integrity who oversaw the Glaros Report face an issue now where they have released personally identifiable information globally for several students – likely violating their FERPA rights, subjecting them to REAL sexual harassment and sexualization! and Anti-Semitic slurs. All in a good day’s work in the egregiously and hastily prepared report that Garrity-Rokous “oversaw” but refuses to take any credit for writing. The whole affair is shameful.

  3. Anonymous says:

    How ironic that OSU’s Office of Compliance and Integrity seems to be totally without any integrity itself. Their petty internal bickering led up to Jon Waters being fired, the appalling Glaros Report, and the lunatic stance of the administration and Trustees. I guess for $390,000 a year (plus bonuses), you can buy anyone’s “loyalty”. The discovery process in the upcoming lawsuits should be very interesting.

  4. Classof2000 says:

    I’m still waiting on the cover story about Chris Glaros, where the Lantern interviews only his enemies, ignores anything positive they have to say and presents it all in a context that makes Glaros look as evil and incompetent as possible. You know. . .just to see how he likes it.

  5. It says “each has a different perspective”. But reading the story, it sounds like Waters and Goldblum largely corroborate each other’s versions. He got nothing useful out of the meeting and she was not able to do anything useful in the meeting. Sounds like the same story to me.

  6. Curious in Columbus says:

    I am curious as to why OSU publicizes the Glaros Report with a video from Dr. Drake, but the report on Mr. Garrity-Rokous has to be dragged out by a public records request from the Lantern.

  7. Yeah, sure.......... says:

    I would like to know more details of the inappropriate sexual conduct that occurred in the Athletic Band. I have heard roundabout that it stemmed from both parties being suspended, but the woman played the victim card and demanded to be reinstated. First of all, if the band was so horrible, why did she fight to get back into it. Secondly I am wondering if there was some rule she broke that resulted in her suspension.
    This is one of the items that was used in the Glaros “report” against Jon Waters (apparently because he stood on both suspensions).

    I don’t want to take sides in that matter, when I don’t have all the facts, but it would seem there was some reason that Mr. Waters would have suspended both parties. I do not condone inappropriate sexual behavior, but one alleged incident in the athletic band in which the man was suspended for his part and a sexual assault that occurred at an off campus party, not sanctioned by the band, again with the man suspended from the band does not a “sexualized culture” make.

    How many incidents of inappropriate sexual conduct occurred on the OSU campus during the same time period? Were all the people involved, including everyone’s instructors, fired? Did that also occur for incidents that occurred off campus?

    It’s all politics my friends. Some people were not happy when Jon Waters was appointed director of the OSUBM and they made sure they did what they had to to get him out. The university was complicit with this and eventually the truth will come out. Drake and the trustees think this will go away, but they have another think coming. And probably a boatload of lawsuits too, for defamation of thousands of band members and alumni.

  8. Former Buckeye says:

    Thomas Fine: you are right. Looks like Garrity-$390,000-Rokous kept anything useful from happening

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