Current OSU Band Members React To Director's Firing


As the Ohio State University marching band gears up for a new season, current band members are speaking out for the first time about the firing of their director.

On July 24, OSU released its report that outlined a sexualized culture within the marching band and fired director Jon Waters.

Wednesday afternoon, five band members spoke with 10TV after meeting with Waters' attorney.

They each stressed that they are not representing the band as a whole, but are only speaking from their own experiences.

"It's a different band now than it was my first year, in a very positive way," said John Joyce, who is entering his fifth year with the band. "Those changes were made by Jon (Waters) through his directing staff, through his student leadership."

The university's report claimed Waters had not done enough to change "serious cultural issues and an environment conducive to sexual harassment."

"I didn't agree with the impression that it left me after I read it," said band member Aroh Pandit.

"Never once did I feel uncomfortable," added band member Aaron Burnside. "Never once did I feel like it was hostile."

"To say that the men and women weren't treated equally, I think that's incorrect," said band member Ben McMurray.

Band member Kris Tikson said she disagrees with the notion the band fostered a "sexualized culture."

"Hardworking, integrity, commitment, self-sacrifice, that's the culture of the band," she said. "Not a sexualized culture."

Waters' attorney, David Axelrod, said he is disappointed the report did not include the details Waters submitted to the university about the way he was trying to change the band culture.

"Jon was the solution, not the problem," Axelrod said.

Axelrod told 10TV Waters' detailed report to the university outlined his efforts to remove past problems involving nicknames, bus behavior, the "midnight ramp", gender equity and other issues.

"He inherited an entrenched culture," Axelrod said. "It was in place decades before he was band director. It was in place decades before he was a band member."

The band members who spoke to 10TV said the changes were working and that the university's report was unfair.

"We were portrayed in such a negative light that is not reflective of who we are," Joyce said.