Monday, May 21, 2018
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OSU band director says he wants job back

Waters says he will continue to fix inappropriate culture

COLUMBUS — Jonathan Waters has an offer for Ohio State University: If school leaders reinstate him as director of the marching band, he will help fix the band’s culture.

In his first interview since Ohio State fired him on July 24, the former marching band director told The Dispatch that his dismissal was based on a “very flawed, very inaccurate report.” Still, he offered to return and help rid the band of offensive traditions that he said date back decades.

“I love my job, and I would love to absolutely come back to lead those students that I love, and to engage in the work that unfortunately I was not permitted to finish,” Waters said. “My hope in all of this is that Ohio State will — the university that I love — will take a step back and engage me in a dialogue as to the cultural issues that were reported.”

Waters, 38, hasn’t pitched his offer to Ohio State, but the ousted director is scheduled to make his case on two national television shows in New York today.

University officials, though, said yesterday that they are moving forward with two new leaders from within the School of Music. Russel C. Mikkelson, the director of university bands, and Scott A. Jones, the associate director of university bands, will lead the marching band as interim directors for the upcoming school year.

A two-month investigation concluded Waters knew about but failed to stop a “sexualized culture” of rituals that included students marching in their underwear and performing sexually themed stunts to get explicit nicknames.

He offered to return and help rid the band of offensive traditions that he says date back decades. He’d been director since 2012.

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