Waters Files Suit Against Ohio State

Fired Ohio State band director Jon Waters has filed a lawsuit against the university regarding his firing and seeks more than $1 million in damages.

Fired Ohio State band director Jon Waters has filed a lawsuit against the university in response to his July dismissal, with a news conference to discuss held this afternoon.

Waters seeks at least $1 million in damages and is suing the university for failure to provide due process, noting he was not given the opportunity to defend himself, and also on for discrimination on the basis of gender, noting that he was "not provided due process and fairness protections that The Ohio State University has routinely extended to female employees facing similar circumstances."

"I want my future be at Ohio State," he said. "I thought what we were doing there was great on the field and in terms of cultural change off the field."

Waters was let go July 24 after university investigators found a "sexualized culture" in the band. Waters has argued that he was at the forefront of trying to change a long-institutionalized culture and that many of the university's findings were either exaggerated, inaccurate or happened before he was named director in 2012.

He has been supported by numerous current and former band members, who have also decried the report and its findings. Some of those even questioned by the university and used in the report that led to Waters' firing have described OSU's findings as biased or misleading.

But Ohio State has stuck to its guns repeatedly, accusing Waters of lying to university investigators and saying he should have known about the issues in the band's culture or done more to fix them. In addition, two weeks ago, the university was praised by the U.S. Department of Education, which had found OSU in violation of some Title IX stipulations, for acting swiftly in the matter.

Waters' lawyers have used numerous legal maneuvers, including requesting a hearing to clear his name, but all have been rebuffed by the university to this point.

"I'm not a lawyer-type of guy ... but we decided this was the appropriate time," he said of filling the lawsuit now.

In addition, his lawyers released a transcript of the band's Aug. 21 meeting with new Ohio State president Michael Drake in which he told the band much of the evidence in the university's report was from before Waters took over the band.

Waters, a former band member, marched with the alumni band and conducted the body at times during Alumni Band Day on Sept. 13 at Ohio Stadium.

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