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Published: Tuesday, 8/5/2014

Ohio State names marching band interim leaders after firing; 1 to focus on compliance, safety


COLUMBUS — Ohio State University has appointed two music professors as interim leaders of the marching band.

Russel Mikkelson, director of university bands, and Scott A. Jones, the associate director of university bands, will take charge of the marching band in an interim leadership structure for the upcoming school year, Ohio State leaders said Monday evening.

The move puts the band under closer control of the College of Arts and Sciences, through which students in the band receive course credit.

Mr. Mikkelson will have general oversight of the band, while Mr. Jones will be in charge of compliance, Title IX, and student safety.

Mr. Mikkelson conducted the band at a performance last month after the firing of director Jonathan Waters after a two-month investigation into the band culture.

“The new temporary leadership structure will best support our students, ensure the band’s tradition of excellence continues, and provide a seamless transition to a permanent band director,” said Mark Shanda, dean of arts and humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Ohio State also hired Lisa Galvin as a new associate director for the 2014-15 marching band season.

Ms. Galvin recently retired from her post as a music teacher and assistant director of bands at Hilliard Bradley High School. She also helped arrange halftime shows for the OSU band last year.

The two leaders under recently ousted director Jonathan Waters will keep their jobs under the interim structure. Chris Hoch will remain associate director, and Mike Smith will be assistant director.

Ms. Galvin and Mr. Hoch will be in charge of drill design, music rehearsal, administration, and student staff oversight. Mr. Smith will supervise percussion, rehearsal assistance, and athletic bands.

“We are thrilled with the deep musical skills and commitment of the students who are participating in summer practices,” said Richard Blatti, director School of Music. “Their talents ensure that the marching band will continue its unparalleled tradition of on-field excellence.”

Ohio State fired Mr. Waters on July 24 after the university found a “sexualized” culture in the band.

Students in the band gave each other nicknames that were sometimes sexually explicit and did inappropriate pranks and traditions, the inquiry found. There was also a case of sexual assault in the marching band last year and a report of sexual harassment in the athletic band.

Mr. Waters and many former band members have said the report depicts a flawed image of the band, based on interviews with only about 10 current or former students.

The university plans to start a national search for a permanent director soon.

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