OSU Alumna Comes To Rescue of Fired Band Director (UPDATE)By Staff Reporter, UniversityHerald Reporter
An unidentified OSU alumna has defended the fired band director, Jonathan Waters, by saying that he was in fact concerned and protective of his students.
In a letter to President Michael Drake and trustees Sunday, the alumna - who was also a witness in the investigation of marching band allegations - said that when she was sexually assaulted in high school, 38-year-old Waters sheltered her by employing stadium security the minute the perpetrator's relatives appeared at a band rehearsal.
"Mr. Waters cares deeply about the well-being of his students both mentally and physically, and the idea that he would be dismissive of sexual harassment is absurd," she wrote, Telegraph - Forum reports.
The woman also said that investigators omitted her positive experiences with Waters including his valuable support in tough situations from the final report. She further said the investigation report also misinterpreted her statements regarding a meeting with Waters.
The letter comes as Waters' supporters demand for his reinstatement.
Waters was fired July 24 after a two-month investigation found that he was aware of "sexualized culture" of rituals including students marching wearing only underwear during a midnight practise, referring new members by sexually explicit nicknames and performing "tricks" on command like simulating sex acts.
However, the university is not rescinding its decision of firing Waters. The school has in fact appointed Professor Russel Mikkelson, director of university bands, and Scott Jones, associate director, "to provide operational leadership and oversight" for the upcoming academic year.
"The new temporary leadership structure will best support our students, ensure the band's tradition of excellence continues and provide a seamless transition to a permanent band director," Mark Shanda, dean of arts and humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences, said in a statement. "The leadership structure was developed following discussions with University leaders, faculty in the School of Music and current marching band members."