06:46 AM

University Files Response in Federal Court to Lawsuit Brought by Terminated Band Director Jonathan Waters

Columbus, Ohio – The Ohio State University today filed a motion to dismiss and a response to a federal lawsuit brought by fired Marching and Athletic Bands Director Jonathan Waters.

The filings are based on two simple and irrefutable legal points:

      1. Mr. Waters was terminated because of his behavior, not, as he asserts, because of his gender. He knew the problematic culture of the band well, but failed to adequately or appropriately fulfill his obligation to meaningfully address the issues before him.

      2. Mr. Waters was an at-will employee, subject to termination at any time with or without cause. He was not denied any legally protected rights.

The filings are available by logging on to the federal court’s online case systemhere.

“The lawsuit is without merit and the university must, and will, strongly and resolutely defend itself, its values and its students,” said Special Counsel Michael H. Carpenter, representing the university in the lawsuit.

“The Ohio State Marching Band is an academic course for class credit with students receiving grades. Our court filings today set forth the legal and factual bases that prompted the former Band Director’s termination from his role in that academic program,” Carpenter said.

Ohio State Board of Trustees Chairman Jeff Wadsworth said: “Our filings today represent a continued opportunity for us to all move forward. The university has remained mostly silent since Mr. Waters’ termination to enable the Marching Band to put the past behind it. The university, however, has now been put in a situation where it must share certain information in order to refute Mr. Waters’ meritless claims.”

While the university’s lawyers defend the lawsuit in court, the hard work continues on addressing the cultural issues in the band while supporting its current members.

“This is a difficult time, but as someone who has been with the Ohio State family for many years, I can tell you that these are times that ultimately bring us closer together,” said Archie Griffin, President and CEO of the Ohio State Alumni Association. “Leaders, especially leaders of young men and women, are expected to lead with the highest standards and integrity. We must always do what is right for our students. We all stand united behind the students and the band, and we support their outstanding work on and off the field representing Ohio State.”

About The Ohio State University

The Ohio State Universityis a dynamic community of diverse resources, where opportunity thrives and where individuals transform themselves and the world. Founded in 1870, Ohio State is a world-class public research university and the leading comprehensive teaching and research institution in the state of Ohio. With more than 64,000 students (including 58,000 in Columbus), the Wexner Medical Center, 14 colleges, 80 centers and 175 majors, the university offers its students tremendous breadth and depth of opportunity in the liberal arts, the sciences and the professions.