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Ohio


OSU alumni call for reinstatement of marching band director
Alumni say the former director responded to sexual harassment problems
Story by TOM BORGERDING


 
The director of Ohio State marching band, shown here, has been fired. Some alumni are protesting the move.
Courtesy of Sam Howzit
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Controversy continues to swirl around the Ohio State's marching band. A group of band alumni marched on the OSU administration building. The protesters are calling for the reinstatement of band director Jon Waters, who was fired after an investigation into sexual harassment. For Ohio Public Radio, WOSU's Tom Borgerding reports:

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About 30 protestors, some carrying signs, chanted as they entered the OSU Administration building. Most the marchers were women.

They wanted a meeting with OSU President Michael Drake. Standing in front of the president’s office, band alumni Lori Cohen said the university’s investigation does not tell the whole story.

“We find the report on which his dismissal was based to be sensationalized and a one-sided view of the organization and would like to contribute our views as women and former band members to the conversation,” says Cohen.

Drake did not meet with the protesters. He fired Waters last week for "failing to eliminate" sexual harassment among band members and preventing its recurrence. The university says it had a “duty to act” in the wake of the allegations. Title IX of federal education law prohibits sexual harassment and the tolerance of what’s called a “hostile environment.“

University investigators say students were pressured to march in their underwear, sing lewd songs, and perform sexually themed stunts and given explicit nicknames.

Chad Stemm plays trombone in the alumni band. He says past incidents of sexual harassment were properly handled.

“The directors have responded by suspending individuals or kicking them out. It’s not been that it’s never been addressed,” says Stemm.

OSU did not immediately respond to the protest.  .

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