“THE” University Statement on Ohio State University Marching Band Culture

Statement from OSU President Michael Drake at: http://www.osu.edu/bandculture

Michael Drake explains, “While the Ohio State Marching Band has embraced a tradition of excellence and become a source of enormous pride for the entire Buckeye family, a recent review of the Marching Band culture and practices revealed conduct by members of the band and staff that is inconsistent with the University’s values and Title IX requirements.”

July 22, 2014  INVESTIGATION REPORT  http://www.osu.edu/assets/pdf/Investigation-Report.pdf

Read the “Investigation Report” by the Office of University Complaince and Integrity (link above).  You will read beyond the reported news media alerts on the complaints filed on Title IX and the OSU policy on Sexual Harassment Policy 1.15.

Ohio NOW applauds the re-evaluation of the marching band culture in the  ”Evaluate and Strengthen Marching Band Leadership.”  We look forward to Dr. Drake taking a leadership position in following the recommendation of the “Investigation Report” to comply with Title IX, university policies, and Ohio State laws.

To see what was unacceptable in the band culture, we must look to the band’s leadership.   Jonathan Waters, Marching Band’s Director; Michael Smith, Assistant Director of Marching and Athletic Bands; and Dr. Christoper Hoch, Associate Director of Marching and Athletic Bands  have known about bandmate abuse and have themselves abused marching band members as portrayed in the report.  Through “Nickname”, “Tricks”, and “Mignight Ramp” there is an ugly community standard of sexual harassment, sexual innuendo, misogyny and explicit sex accepted at house parties, dinners, and down time on trips.

Furthermove, there is a complete category of bus trips special abuses where members are presented with “Rookie Introduction”, “Rookie Midterms and Physical Challenges”, “Trip Tic”,  and “Songbook”.  For an example, if you think these were childish, safe pranks, you can read the  Band Bible with its misogynistic lyrics using collegiate melodies which may be considered lower on the list of offenses.  The Band Bible is composed of 40 pages with 3 to 4 degrading and sexual explicit song on each page.  It turns the phrase “have a safe trip” to “enjoy being degraded”.

Abuse of alcohol listed in the report cannot be forgotten as a catalyst for influencing the actions provoking complaints on Title IX and the OSU policies.

At the end of the report, there is an analysis of the situation and recommendations.  Followed by


For the reasons described above, we make the following findings:

1) The Marching Band’s culture facilitated acts of sexual harassment, creating a hostile environment for students.

2) Jonathan Waters knew or reasonably should have known about this culture but failed to eliminate the sexual harassment, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects.”

Ohio NOW recognizes the sexism that remains in our culture despite efforts such as the 42th anniversary of Title IX this year.  After decades, Title IX works to ensure that institutions are not only safe places for women and girls to thrive and contribute but those are places that actually value and build upon those contributions.  Although The Ohio State University is in the news this week, a review of complaints over the past year shows that our educational institutions must all remain vigilant in the face of treatment that seeks to diminish, demean, and harm others, especially women, as in this case.

The Ohio State University this week took tough action in initial steps towards working for compliance in their Title IX and other policies.  Ohio NOW strongly encourages The Ohio State University to remain vigilant for compliance through the university, beyond but also including this investigation of the marching band program, so that women faculty, staff, administration, and alumni (and their children) can take pride and believe that all Buckeyes are entitled to a safe, secure work and educational environmnent, truly demonstrating the best, brightest, and largest in the land.

For more information on Ohio NOW and Title IX contact us at sbader@columbus.rr.com   presented by Susan M. Bader, President Ohio NOW