Ohio State is continuing with a second investigation of the university’s marching band with the help of outside firms, though questions remain about which firms will participate and what they will be paid.
President Michael Drake officially asked former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery to lead a second examination into the culture of the marching band in a letter recently posted to an OSU website. Drake dubbed Montgomery’s investigation the “Marching Band Culture Task Force.”
In the roughly two-page brief, he requested that Montgomery’s task force conduct an assessment of the band’s culture, review university processes and oversight, and provide counsel on Title IX compliance issues. He said he expects Montgomery to have investigation findings ready within 45 to 60 days.
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.
A two-month investigation into the band’s culture earlier this year found the marching band’s environment was conducive to sexual harassment. The findings ultimately led to the termination of former director Jonathan Waters because the report said he was either aware of, or reasonably should have been aware of that culture, but did not do enough to address it.
Drake said Montgomery’s task force will not be asked to reopen any aspect of the initial investigation that ousted Waters.
Outside firms on the task force include: Washington, D.C.-based Arent Fox LLP; Los Angeles-based David Vaughn Consulting Group; and Columbus-based Ernst & Young, according to a statement from Montgomery on an OSU website. Another firm, listed as a cultural assessment firm, has yet to be determined.
Each firm will bring a different expertise to the table, said Jen Dewiler, a spokeswoman from outside firm Steiner Public Relations, which was hired by Montgomery to handle task force media inquiries. An OSU spokesman referred The Lantern to Dewiler for comment.
Arent Fox LLP specializes in Title IX and civil rights matters, David Vaughn Consulting Group has experience in investigations of large institutions, and Ernst & Young specializes in recommending changes based on data and document collection and analysis, Detwiler said.
A statement released by OSU in late July said the firm Sports Conflict Institute, based in Eugene, Ore., was set to review the band culture, but that firm wasn’t listed in Montgomery’s statement.
Detwiler said, however, the task force is still considering the firm to conduct the cultural assessment.
OSU has not yet said what compensation each firm will receive, Detwiler said.
“We expect the university to provide a full accounting of professional fees related to the task force’s work in a reasonable period of time after the task force work is completed,” Detwiler said.
Montgomery will work pro bono without compensation from the university, Detwiler said.
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