Small Ohio university hires fired Ohio State band director

TIFFIN, Ohio (AP) — A former marching band director fired from Ohio State University after an investigation into what the school said was a sexualized culture within the band has been hired by a small university.

Heidelberg University hired Jonathan Waters as its band director and a music education professor on Monday. Waters will start at the private university in Tiffin on July 1. His salary terms weren’t disclosed.

Heidelberg is located about two hours north of Columbus and has about 1,000 undergraduate and 300 graduate students.

Ohio State terminated Waters in July 2014 after an internal investigation alleged that he ignored a sexualized culture that included sexual harassment, sexually explicit nicknames and hazing within the band.

At the time, Waters’ halftime shows were considered revolutionary. The morphing and dancing scenes designed on iPads garnered hundreds of thousands of hits on YouTube and landed the already celebrated band in an Apple commercial.

Waters has filed lawsuits in U.S. District Court and the Ohio Court of Claims, claiming gender discrimination and defamation. He’s seeking damages of more than $1 million and to be reinstated as Ohio State’s marching band director.

Waters said the job at Heidelberg gives him the opportunity to make music again.

“It’s an appointment to build the program there,” Waters told The Columbus Dispatch. “To me, it doesn’t matter the size of the band. Music is music is music.”

Heidelberg said it vetted each candidate during its search process and has “done its due diligence.”

“The search process identified in Waters a candidate who is qualified to fill the position,” Provost Beth Schwartz said in a statement.

The university didn’t comment further due to the pending lawsuits.

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