Jon Waters has dismissed his two lawsuits filed against Ohio State after he was fired from his position as the marching band director in 2014, in an agreement reached with the university.
“(Waters) has voluntarily dismissed all of his claims against the university, including all appeals, in exchange for the university not seeking to recover its costs from him, as OSU would be entitled to do as the prevailing party,” OSU spokesman Ben Johnson said in a statement. “The decision by Mr. Waters to terminate his two pending cases leaves in place the prior rulings of the U.S. District Court in Columbus and the Ohio Court of Claims, which both found against Mr. Waters. Ohio State is pleased this litigation is now concluded and all parties can move forward.”
Waters said that while he is glad the legal processes are over, he finds the conclusion to be “bittersweet.”
“From a public relations standpoint the community at large was very much on our side, on my side, through this whole journey and that was gratifying because we had the truth on our side,” Waters said. “Unfortunately we weren’t able to tell that truth in front of the courtroom and in front of a jury. From the kind of community and reputational aspect of all this I think everybody knows that i was made the scapegoat and that Ohio State was unfortunately wrong in all this.”
In U.S. District Court, Waters had argued that OSU had discriminated against him based on his gender and he was fired without due process after a university investigation found he was aware or reasonably should have been aware of the band’s “sexualized culture,” and did not do enough to change it. That suit was dismissed by a judge in August.
Waters had separately argued in the Court of Claims that OSU had defamed him and ruined his personal reputation. That suit was dismissed by a judge in July.
“I’ll just say this: the damage to the reputation to the Ohio State band and its alumni has been done,” Waters said. “The damage to my reputation has been done.”
With the legal process now finished, he wished the students and band well.
“I am glad that the event is over, I wish the students at Ohio State the best of luck moving forward,” Waters said. “The band will be great for many years to come and we should all expect that they will do great things, but this is unfortunately a stain on what is otherwise a sterling reputation.”