OSU Officials Were Not Mandated To Fire Band Director

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The attorney for fired OSUMB director Jon Waters said the university was not required to terminate him until Title IX.(Photo: Thomas Bradley / WOSU)
The attorney for fired OSUMB director Jon Waters said the university was not required to terminate him until Title IX.(Photo: Thomas Bradley / WOSU)

The attorney for fired Ohio State University Marching Band director said the university did not have to terminate him.

“I am absolutely saying that OSU didn’t absolutely have to fire Jon Waters,” David Axelrod, Jon Waters’ attorney, said.

Axelrod cites U.S. Supreme Court case Davis v. Monroe Country Board of Education. In that case, the justices ruled a school is not mandated to any “particular disciplinary action” to avoid being held liable under Title IX, so long as the school takes reasonable steps to correct the hostile environment.

Axelrod said firing Waters was “unreasonable.”

“There were all kinds of things they could have done. For instance when a problem like this at Wisconsin, the band was suspended, or they could have put the band on probation,” he suggested. “They could have installed somebody at the Ohio State University Marching Band, after educating the students as to what is and is not appropriate behavior, to watch and be sure that the rules are adhered to.”

Association of Title IX Administrators board member Saundra Schuster agrees that OSU did not “have to” fire Waters.

“What they were mandated to do was to ensure that the behavior stopped and didn’t recur,” Schuster said. “They’re going to be held accountable for how well did they assess the matter and how effective were their measures to stop the behavior. But in terms of mandated to terminate? The answer is no.”

Ohio State has stopped just short of saying it had to fire Waters. In its report on the investigation, OSU states it was required to take “prompt and effective steps to respond to sexual harassment.”

University officials have said firing Waters was a part of resetting the culture of the marching band.

Comments
  • Robert B. Smith

    The university had many options and but our new president apparently wanted to show he could be very tough and fire the band director who was responsible for getting thre unversity and the band worldwide recogition for his inovative approach to a game day performance. Before taking such action the president should have checked into the situation more deeply and talked with more band members and band alumni. In my estimation the president went off half-cocked and gave the situation very little thought before taking such gaveful action which, in the long run, will harm the university more than acting more prudently based on complete information.–Robert B. Smith