In an act of solidarity, former female marching band members walked into Ohio State University President Michael Drake's Office with a message, but he wasn't there to hear it.
“The decision to fire Jon Waters was short sighted, it was not warranted, it was not best for the organization, it was not what was best for the university,” said Lori Cohen, who marched in the OSU Band from 1986 to 1990.
The University's investigation showed how band members were given "offensive nicknames." There were reports of a rookie introduction using a "(sex toy) as a microphone."
Students were “groped" during a rookie march. There were reports of a "sexual assault" and "sexual harassment.”
Kerri Shaffer doesn't like how the band's image is being portrayed. She supports Jon Waters and says she took part in some of the traditions the university outlined.
“Nobody was pressured or forced to do it. I saw plenty of girls who didn't take their clothes off. They weren't teased,” said Shaffer. She would not say if she was one of them.
She's talking about what's called the "Midnight Ramp" where students marched into the stadium in their underwear.
“I did do this in my underwear, as many people did, and not everyone did it. That's important to know, no one was subjected to do this against their will,” said Aaron Mealick, who marched in the OSU Band from 2006 to 2008.
But he also acknowledged there were issues in the band that needed to be addressed.
“Were there people who took things to the extreme? - Absolutely. Were there people who did things that were reprehensible? – Absolutely,” he said.
The former band members who marched on Monday are angered by the way the band is being portrayed and argue the bands traditions started long before Jon Waters grabbed a conductor’s wand.
“We are not perverts. We are not sexualized individuals doing something crazy just to be a part of something", said Cohen.
Jon Waters has declined to comment about the allegations against him.
According to the school, President Drake will meet with former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery, who is heading up a second investigation into the band, including probing reports of sexual harassment and what the school calls “objectionable traditions.” She will also conduct a follow-up review of the initial investigation by the university’s Office of Compliance & Integrity.
Members of the task force are expected to be announced by the end of the week, if not sooner.