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2nd Ohio State band investigation to conclude later than expected

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The OSU Marching Band plays at a football game against Buffalo. Credit: Ritika Shah / Asst. photo editor

The OSU Marching Band plays at a football game against Buffalo.
Credit: Ritika Shah / Lantern TV news director

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.

8 comments

  1. I’m tired of the implication that the federal government reviewed all the details and agreed that OSU’s conclusions are correct. The fact that the OCR praised OSU’s “handling” of the situation proves that it did not review any details.

    OSU left the current band in place as-is. It brought in two TBDBITL alumni as well as a SOM faculty member who was aware of everything that goes on in band to fill the shoes of one man. No sanctions were given to the band and no punishments were levied on any of the students who were allegedly the perpetrators of a destructive culture. If the false accusations against the band were true, OSU’s “solution” of firing Jon Waters would have done absolutely nothing to solve the problems. The OCR, if it truly cared to examine the situation, would have noted this.

  2. JP:

    1) The motivation for the entire lynching of Waters was to satisfy the OCR. They knew what the OCR wanted to see and so they served it up on a silver platter. The problem is that Title IX statute does not require termination of people in Waters’ situation. Even if the Glaros Report was accurate, it was wholly unnecessary. The problem is that all these people (OSU leadership: Drake, Steinmetz, Glaros) don’t operate in the realm of logic and statute. They operate in the realm of victimization and manipulation of emotion to steer an agenda.

    2) You need to understand that the SOM played a hand in this. They didn’t come to Waters’ rescue nor shield him from this for a reason. I suspect they weren’t happy that Gee put the director of the band under the athletic department rather than the SOM. So they were more than happy to sweep in and take control.

    3) The band was not sanctioned because the acute situations mentioned in the report occurred with/too people that are no longer in band or before Waters was director. In other words the report didn’t (by design) take into account any improvement or any positive shift in behavior that Waters undertook. You do still have a valid point; these kids are adults now. Adults should be help responsible for their actions. The director isn’t/can’t be present at every gathering/party/etc.

    4) There isn’t a destructive culture. If there was, do you really think they could put on the shows they do in ~10 hours of rehearsal while maintaining a cross-band cumulative GPA of roughly 3.5? Ummm. . .no.

    5) Even if firing Waters was the correct and appropriate action, there is still a lawful process for terminating a state employee. Ask yourself this, why would Ohio State deny him due process within the confines of the university where the school’s influence would loom large and instead blow him off until he is forced to sue? It doesn’t make sense. They didn’t think there would be this much public interest. They thought this would just go away. They knew their case was so weak it wouldn’t stand before a biased university board/committee. Well. . .now it will be heard before an unaffiliated jury. Good luck with Drake.

  3. ^^I think you misunderstood my point.

    First of all, this is me: http://thelantern.com/2014/08/letter-to-the-editor-ohio-state-marching-band-investigation-report-a-farce/

    I know that OSU has completely screwed up here. My point is that the OCR didn’t even perform a cursory review of the situation, because IF the allegations were true (which, as a member of TBDBITL from 2005-2008, I know them not to be), OSU’s response was not appropriate. You have media outlets regurgitating the refrain that the OCR approved of OSU’s actions, as if they had performed a comprehensive review and stamped their approval. At best, some OCR schmuck skimmed the Glaros report.

  4. ^^I think you misunderstood my point.

    First of all, this is me: http://thelantern.com/2014/08/letter-to-the-editor-ohio-state-marching-band-investigation-report-a-farce/

    I know that OSU has completely screwed up here. My point is that the OCR didn’t even perform a cursory review of the situation, because IF the allegations were true (which, as a member of TBDBITL from 2005-2008, I know them not to be), OSU’s response was not appropriate. You have media outlets regurgitating the refrain that the OCR approved of OSU’s actions, as if they had performed a comprehensive review and stamped their approval. At best, some OCR schmuck skimmed the Glaros report.

  5. Hopefully they get it right this time and reinstate Jon. It sounds like this investigation is being done thoroughly even though earlier a test showed Montgomery was more interested in interviewing people with complaints. If they don’t reinstate him Drake et al will be thoroughly embarrassed in court whether Waters wins or not.

  6. I made a public records request weeks ago To the OSU regarding any contracts or documents which detail the mandate of the second investigation. I have received a response that they would send it to me when they had time. However, with such a simple request, I feel that they should have been able to provide it by know.

  7. Buckeye in the West

    Of course, the Montgomery investigation could be attempt to “whitewash” the “whitewash” of the so called Glaros Report. Remember Ms. Montgomery is working at the request of Dr. Waters and the Board of Trustees; not what one would call an independent investigation.Asking fro extra time means either they found something or that means what they found does not correspond with the finding of the Glaros Report; that is, OSU acted wrongly and quickly in their decision to terminate Jon Waters.

    The OSU Alumni Band released a report, a couple weeks ago, and it has a number of accounts of stonewalling by the OSU Administration and those involved with Ms. Montgomery. Though, even with all the road blocks, they were able to debunk the entire Glaros Report; it was not hard to do.

    Jon Waters, suing, will result in the real truth coming out.

  8. There’s not much the SOM could have done for Waters, since Gee put the athletic bands under the purview of the Athletic Dept. The marching band was barely under the oversight of the SOM as it was, and has a long history of functioning as its own entity. Woods made sure of that, and Waters supported it.

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