Letter to the editor:
Like the rest of the university, I want an end to this marching band scandal. But I want it without the reinstatement of Jon Waters. As an athletic band member, I, too, was upset at first by his seemingly unwarranted dismissal. But after reading Ohio State’s report, I discovered that his dismissal was, in reality, very warranted — and maybe well overdue. There were three reported instances of sexual assault on female members of the marching and athletic bands. In one case, Waters eventually decided to prohibit the alleged male offender from attending an event — an event where he gave the woman the same punishment but was told by OSU he couldn’t punish her after she reported sexual assault. As a student of the Ohio State University, this is not the type of person I want representing me, or my school, as a Buckeye. So whether the band has a “sexualized culture” is irrelevant to me. Mr. Waters’ decision to inappropriately deal with something so serious as a sexual assault accusation is offensive to my core human values. But in response to that topic, which seems to be gaining the most public interest: clearly the culture was hurtful enough to cause students pain or humiliation in an activity that should be about the satisfaction of the hard work put in day in and day out. I understand the value of tradition, but if these traditions are detrimental to the well-being of even one person, is that really something you want to stand up for? I further understand that Mr. Waters was making some efforts to improve this culture, and I truly appreciate it. I wish he had done more. But this is the beginning of a long journey that the marching band is only just starting. And a captain always goes down with his ship.
I don’t doubt that there were good reasons for Jon Waters’ actions — or lack thereof — but unfortunately when you’re in a position of power and in view of the public eye, you just can’t afford to make such large mistakes. He and his successful contributions will always be ingrained in one era of The Best Damn Band in the Land, but for now, I think it’s time we thank him for what he taught us and move into our next era.
Athletic Band member who plays trombone
Third-year in religious studies and Russian