COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – The director fired last year for ignoring a “sexualized culture” inside the Ohio State University marching band says the job description for his replacement reads like it was made for him. So he applied.
Jonathan Waters was terminated in July after an internal investigation concluded he turned a blind eye to certain raunchy, profane or suggestive band traditions.
Waters and his supporters have challenged the review’s findings and conclusions. An independent follow-up investigation said the band’s culture had also been influenced by social pressures and ineffective university oversight.
Waters said in an Associated Press interview that the posting for his replacement differs from his former job in that it is on the tenure track.
But he said the university seeks qualifications he embodies and, in some cases, helped introduce to the organization, nicknamed The Best Damn Band in the Land. He submitted his resume in January.
“I feel that I’m the best person suited to forward the mission of the Ohio State University marching band,” Waters said, persisting in a stance that he’s maintained despite repeated statements by the university that it will not rehire him.
Waters’ application comes as he simultaneously pursues a discrimination lawsuit seeking reinstatement and $1 million in damages in federal court.
University spokesman Chris Davey said he couldn’t comment on the search for a director, which is continuing. The school is also so far declining to share the names or submitted applications.
In the past, the university has said revelations from its band culture investigation led them to conclude that Waters could no longer effectively lead the band. In legal filings, the university alleges Waters made inconsistent statements to its investigators, mishandled at least one sexual assault complaint and failed to volunteer information that could have been helpful to their review.
One particular point in the job description seems to be aimed at moving the band past the cultural revelations. The next director must “keep the well-being of students as the priority and in doing so, send forth from its ranks people who embody self-discipline, servant leadership, personal and institutional integrity, and inherent respect for others.”
Waters said, “That was everything I was about as band director. I think that was one of the most important statements in the job description because it talks about the person-building experience.”
During his tenure, Waters revolutionized the band’s halftime shows through the use of iPads instead of paper, allowing students to morph into galloping horses, flying superheroes and a moonwalking Michael Jackson. The shows have attracted hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube.
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