So, this one time at Band Camp . . .
Just a case of life imitating art, for any “American Pie” fans. Ohio State University announced today that band director Jonathan Waters was fired today after an internal investigation dotted all its I’s and concluded that a deep culture of sexual harassment and sexualized behavior existed in the band.
Waters was previously a member of the band, before becoming a graduate assistant and assistant director, before taking over in 2012. According to the Columbus Post-Dispatch:
Many if not all of the traditions predate Waters, but OSU leaders concluded that he didn’t do enough to stop them. The report said little about Jon Woods, the previous director who led the band for 25 years before handing the reins to Waters, who has been with the band in some role since 1995.
What are these traditions?
There’s a Midnight Ramp where band members wear only their underwear and march into the football stadium. Bandmembers are given nicknames, and it was estimated that 50% of them are of the sexual innuendo variety.
Some of the
nicknames include Ballsacagawea, Jewoobs (given to a Jewish student with large breasts), and Mushroom Stamp.
Band members also had to perform “tricks” in line with their nicknames. For example, one student named “Squirt” laid across other band members’ laps (including her younger brother) and pretended to orgasm.
The full detailed report attached to the Post-Dispatch article is a must-read. One activity listed was “Find Mr. Big”, where members competed to locate a dildo on the bus. There was also an unofficial band book that contained sexually explicit lyrics to many other songs and other schools’ fight songs. (Hail to the . . .)
It sounds like the Marching Band culture at Ohio State had issues that went far beyond, but he did not do enough to change long-time traditions that created a hostile environment.