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COLUMBUS - Ohio State University's investigation that led to the dismissal of popular marching band director Jon Waters was amateurish, one-sided and incomplete, according to Waters' attorney who is lashing back against the university's actions.
Waters, who had been director for a little less than two years and brought national acclaim to the band, was dismissed in the wake of an investigation that concluded he turned a blind eye toward rampant sexual harassment and hazing among students in the 225-member band.
Attorney David Axelrod countered that Waters provided a five-page list of initiatives he had undertaken to try to change the band culture and end offensive traditions. None of those initiatives were included in the 23-page report and OSU investigators only interviewed 10 witnesses during the two-month inquiry, he said. The report included 59 pages of attachments, including a song book with gay-bashing, raunchy lyrics to school fight songs that has been around for decades.
"He tried as hard as he could (to change the band culture) and his only regret is that he wasn't allowed enough time to finish the job. Jon loves Ohio State University. He bleeds scarlet and gray but he cannot let even his beloved alma mater take away his good name and intends to fight to clear it," Axelrod said.
He declined to say how Waters intends to fight or to release the list of initiatives Waters submitted to OSU investigators. Waters, who was a sousaphone player in the band in the 1990s, was paid $188,000 last year.
The investigation, which was triggered by a band mother's complaint, found that: band members swore oaths to keep traditions secret, upper class-men assigned nicknames to rookies, including sexually explicit ones, members marched into the football stadium at midnight wearing only their underwear, and students were assigned raunchy tricks to do based on their nicknames.
Axelrod said OSU officials knew about this band culture.
"He inherited an entrenched culture that had existed for decades and decades. It existed for decades before he became the band director, it existed for decades before he joined the band as a member and realistically it appears that it existed for decades before he was born," Axelrod said.