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Band director says he wants job back

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State University’s fired marching band director says he wants his job back and will keep trying to fix the culture issues that led to his dismissal.
Jonathan Waters, in an interview Monday with The Columbus Dispatch, says his July 24 firing was based on a “very flawed, very inaccurate report” of what was going within the unit.
A two-month investigation concluded Waters knew about but failed to stop a “sexualized culture” of rituals that included students marching in their underwear and performing sexually themed stunts to get explicit nicknames.
He offered to return and help rid the band of offensive traditions that he says date back decades. He’d been director since 2012.
However, OSU is moving forward with changes in the marching band. Two music professors will be interim leaders of the band, with one focusing on compliance and student safety in the wake of the investigation that led to the director’s firing, the university said Monday.
The announcement, accompanied by supportive statements from the trustees’ chairman and the head of the alumni association, comes less than two weeks after the firing of director Jonathan Waters.
Ohio State’s director of university bands, Russel C. Mikkelson, is now overseeing the marching band, and the associate director of bands, Scott A. Jones, is responsible for student safety and compliance with Title IX sexual discrimination laws, the school said Monday. It plans a national search for the next permanent director.
The announcement shows that Ohio State has “taken a necessary step forward by doing what we must, and what is right,” the chair of  the trustees’ board, Jeffrey Wadsworth, said in a      statement. He said he fully backs the decision to fire Waters.
A statement from the president of the university’s overall alumni association, football great Archie Griffin, echoed that support.
A different alumni group, the powerful and well-funded alumni association for the marching band, is challenging the findings of the investigation. It has launched its own review and efforts to get Waters reinstated.
The university says it had to move swiftly on a complaint against Waters under federal sexual discrimination laws.
New Ohio State President Michael Drake has enlisted former state Attorney General Betty Montgomery to lead a task force that will advise Drake’s administration on how the band’s culture evolved to its current state and make recommendations for its future.

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