A second Ohio State-led investigation into the marching band’s culture is expected to take longer than previously announced.
That investigation — led by former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery — was set to be completed in early October, but is now expected to last four to six more weeks, according to a Thursday letter from Montgomery to the OSU Board of Trustees and President Michael Drake.
The Montgomery-led effort was directed to assess the band culture, review OSU administrative processes and oversight and counsel the university on Title IX compliance issues. Montgomery is to report directly to Drake and the Board. 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.
Montgomery’s letter said the investigation’s task force has conducted about 140 interviews with current and former band members, parents, and university and community members. Of those interviews, over half were of current or former band members.
The interviews typically took an hour to an hour and a half each, Montgomery said.
The task force has also conducted an anonymous survey of hundreds of band members from 2009 to present, reviewed thousands of documents and responded to hundreds of emails and letters, she said.
The investigation was announced shortly after former marching band director Jonathan Waters was fired July 24.
Waters was terminated after a separate OSU investigation found the band contained a sexually-fueled culture that Waters was aware of or should have reasonably been aware of, but didn’t do enough to change.
Since his dismissal, Waters and his attorney have made multiple public appearances and submitted a letter asking OSU to consider rehiring him. Drake and the Board of Trustees, however, have declined to reconsider his case.
Waters announced Friday he plans to sue the university for a minimum of $1 million in compensatory damages. He will also seek punitive damages, attorney fees and reinstatement.
Waters’ lawsuit claims he was not given due process following the initial cultural investigation. It also says he was discriminated against on the basis of gender.
Former Ohio Attorney General and Board of Regents chancellor Jim Petro has signed onto Waters’ legal team to assist in the effort.
Meanwhile, the university has maintained its position and has since released a statement saying its ready to take on the legal fight.
The university has said it plans on naming a new director by February. University Bands director Russel Mikkelson and associate director Scott Jones are serving as the interim directors until that permanent director is selected.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights announced after a compliance review of the university was concluded Sept. 11 that it will enter into an agreement with OSU to ensure proper Title IX obedience, according to a release.
In the release, the OCR agreed with the university that a “sexually hostile environment” within the band violated Title IX and praised the university for its handling of the situation.
OSU was one of 55 U.S. colleges and universities being investigated by the department for its handling of sexual abuse complaints under Title IX. The review began in 2010 and was not complaint-based, the release said.