An Argument That Doesn’t Hold Waters

Members of the Ohio State marching band have rallied behind ousted leader Jonathan Waters. They have posed many arguments for why he shouldn’t have been fired in the wake of an investigation into the organization’s Title IX compliance.

Some say the investigation itself was flawed. Some say Waters wasn’t afforded due process. Some say the investigation overstates the band’s problems. (Ironically, Waters’ attorney is claiming the opposite: That the culture was so flawed, 20 months wasn’t enough to clean it up.)

Hopefully, the university’s promised further investigation will uncover if there’s truth to any of these arguments.

But there’s at least one line of reasoning that I really, really can’t follow.

At least two former band members have come out saying their nicknames, bestowed on them presumably for their ample chest and backside, did not offend them, so they’re really not an issue.

I guess I can hang a Playgirl calendar by my desk, and see how far that logic goes. I’m betting that after I tell the boss that I’m not offended by the oiled-up, muscular men without clothes, he’ll still report me to HR.

Perhaps I am the only one who would see the images day after day after glorious day, but I’m not the only one who would ultimately be affected by them.

In a similar way, there are plenty of women who would feel uncomfortable around men who use anatomical nicknames, even if they aren’t the target of them.

Callous indifference to these women, or implying they should “lighten up,” is kind of the attitude that Ohio State’s administration believes got the band in trouble in the first place.

You could say it probably hits a sour note with the OSU brass.


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