Former OSU Band Members Describe Band Culture


UPDATED: Friday July 25, 2014 5:41 AM

The Ohio State University has fired band director Jon Waters.

The school says the action comes after an investigation by the Office of University Compliance over the past two months revealed "serious cultural issues and an environment conducive to sexual harassment within the Marching Band."

The findings revealed that conduct of the band and staff "is inconsistent with the University's values and Title IX requirements."

A former band member told 10TV Thursday night that he witnessed some of the activities mentioned in the report.

"In a way, there's the band on the field and there's the band off the field," said Jason Miao.

Miao marched in the OSU band his freshman year. He says it was an honor but came with a lot things he didn't expect.

"You see this band as this really high prestigious band," Miao said. "You never realize how much more secretive stuff that happens within the band."

The Ohio State investigation is now bringing some of that to light. A report outlines a sexual, sometimes vulgar environment.

"When everybody told you to get down to your underwear you weren't exactly sure what was going on," said Miaw.

Miao recalls a ritual called the midnight ramp, where band members are forced to march in their underwear onto the field. He says staff members were there, including then assistant band director, Jon Waters.

Miao also says nicknames, sometimes suggestive, were a known practice.

"There are some that are, we try to keep it hidden around parents and in public," said Miao.

Tim Jessberger was also well aware of the nicknames. He was a member of the athletic band, a step below the marching band but led at the time by Waters.

"I don't think there's any way he could have not known that it was going on," said Jessberger.

Miao left the band 4 years ago but understands from friends that Waters was making changes.

Regardless, Miao explains it's an environment that's just accepted by members.

"I think everybody who wanted to join the band really wanted to and they were willing to accept these practices," said Miao.

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