TBDBITL Leaders Ask To Be Interviewed By OSU Task Force - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

TBDBITL Leaders Ask To Be Interviewed By OSU Task Force

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - A group of student leaders with The Ohio State University Marching Band are asking to be interviewed as part of a task force investigation into the band's culture.

Thirty squad leaders have signed their names to a letter of support for former band director Jonathan Waters, who was fired on July 23 after a two-month investigation by the university.

The Ohio State investigation allegedly revealed cultural issues that Waters was allegedly aware of or should have been aware of. It was further alleged that Waters failed to eliminate the "sexualized culture" and prevent it from reoccurring.

Former and current band members have spoken out in favor of Waters, saying that the university overreacted to the concerns of a few, and that Waters was working to correct some of the questionable, decades-old traditions.

What's different about the new statements is that the leaders are asking members of the university's sanctioned task force, led by former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery, to interview them as witnesses.

DOCUMENTS:
OSUMB Squad Leader Responsibilities 2012
OSUMB Policies & Procedures 2012
Trip Policy 2012 vs. 2013
Squad Leader Retreat Itinerary 2013
Squad Leader Retreat Itinerary 2012
2012-2013 OSUMB Leadership Follow-Up

The students want to share their point of view, releasing numerous marching band documents they said show Waters was well on his way to changing the band's culture.

They called Waters, "an advocate for student safety, equality, and respect between all members."

The group highlights the band's zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment and hazing, and call the university's investigation, "severely flawed" for many reasons, adding that the true culture of the band is one of, "determination, respect, community, and volunteerism."

The investigation report released by the university outlined numerous activities that related to the band's culture, including Midnight Ramp, nicknames, Rookie Introductions, Rookie Midterms and Physical Challenges, Trip Tic, Songbook, and other misconduct and conditions on buses.

Current and former band members have said the report is an exaggeration, and more than 12,600 supporters have signed an online petition to have Waters reinstated.

On Tuesday, OSU released a statement saying it is grateful to learn about the positive experiences of some former band members.

But that statement does not mention the culture issues. Instead, it says the former director was not forthcoming or truthful with university personnel on multiple occasions. The former director denied ever having yelled at students or directed profanity at students.

When he was fired, the university released this audio tape of him yelling and using profanity at a drum major who walked out on practice.

A statement from assistant vice president of media and public relations Chris Davey states: "Our instructors, faculty, and staff are expected to treat our students with dignity and respect in the learning environment."

The issue of a sexualized culture is not mentioned in the statement. When asked if that means this is not about band culture, Davey said: "Yelling at the student as just one of multiple examples of Waters being untruthful."

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