Unemployed marching band director Jonathan Waters spoke out through his attorney regarding the allegations of inappropriate conduct that he allegedly allowed to go on as the head of the University of Ohio’s marching band.
Waters said in a released statement that he was aware of the students’ weird behavior and rituals and that he was working to put a stop to it, despite allegations that claim he allowed it to happen. He blamed the widespread behavior on “vestiges representing cultural norms from eras gone by.” He claimed that his staff had started to implement “concentrated pressure of real, lasting change within the organization.” He believed that “the best and most permanent change occurs from within the organization” in order to explain why his staff was slow to respond and stop the behavior within the organization.
The University of Ohio fired Waters last week after just 20 months on the job because of an internal investigation that revealed a culture of student misconduct that the staff knew about and failed to stop following a complaint filed by a parent. The investigation found that students were required to perform certain rituals when they joined the marching band such as midnight practices where the participants marched only in their underwear. The Columbus Dispatch published a copy of the investigation’s final report on their website.
Let’s give Waters the benefit of the doubt and assume that he was earnestly trying to stop such behavior. Why didn’t he just tell the kids to knock it off? Why try to implement some bizarre, staff driven strategy to destroy the culture from within the organization? If he wanted the staff to get involved, he could have just ordered them to tell the students to knock it off. It seems to work pretty well when our parents did it and we were way less mature than the students in the marching band. Not by much, however, if the report is accurate.