Monday, July 28, 2014

Victoria Nolte

President Drake,
I marched my fourth and final season with the OSUMB this past year and as a female I feel that I need to speak out. The media and university have dragged a wonderful man and organization through the mud, with very little facts and context. This was not an investigation, it was a witch-hunt.
My nickname appeared in the report, but I was not contacted whatsoever. Ohio State did not conduct a proper investigation, but rather took hearsay to victimize and slander me. I was absolutely not made to feel inferior during my time in band, and these claims of misogyny are way off base. Using this false report, my own university was the FIRST to make me feel like a frail, helpless, inferior, sexual object. I reject any insinuation that I was coerced or pressured into doing ANYTHING. If they had taken the time to talk to me, a more complete narrative would have emerged.
From the time you make band, you are a part of the TBDBITL family and everyone takes care of one another. During my time in the band the older members were constantly making sure I was okay, and it was ALWAYS made clear to me that I did not have to participate in anything that I did not feel comfortable doing. That being said, “midnight ramp” was absolutely all in good fun, the point of it being, “If you can march ramp in your underwear in front of your closest friends, you’ll be able to march ramp in front of 105,000 fans”. Many people chose not to march in their undergarments, but wore as much clothes as made them feel comfortable. Many didn’t even participate. I would like to make it very clear that Jon understood this lighthearted tradition, and was present to make sure we were all safe. He single-handedly changed this to a sober and safe event, and even completely cancelled the event for years following his inaugural year as head director.
Quite a few traditions have been done-away with by Jon and his staff over the past two years. The things we could get away with drastically changed, like night and day, from the beginning of my band career to the end. The band frequently referred to Jon and his staff as the “fun police”, making siren noises whenever he cracked down on us, or changed something. Jon always would have talks with the entire band and squad leaders, feeling it was important to consult the band to get feedback in finding a solution to tweak our deeply rooted traditions. He coined the phrases, “Do we need this? Is this necessary?” The answer, of course, was “No.” Jon was passionate about bringing forth change in our culture, and was a very disciplinary leader. Any other report that says otherwise is absolutely false and fabricated. Jon Waters was TBDBITL’s instrument of change. (Pun intended)
I am very sure about one thing. Without the support of Jon Waters and this band, I don’t know how I could have gotten through my mother’s cancer, or even my undergraduate chemistry classes. I have served as the former vice president and president of the band’s service sorority, Tau Beta Sigma, working closely with Jon to provide service to the whole band. We supported the bands at OSU through recruitment, financial support, and especially welcoming the new members of the marching band and helping them in various ways throughout their first season, among other things. Jon is a stand up man, who cares not only about his own students, but all students involved in music. A few years ago, a tragedy occurred where another Big Ten marching band member lost their life. Although our fiercest of rivals, Jon quickly organized a few TBDBITL members to drive up to the university the next day to speak to their band in support, attend a memorial service, and give the band one of our most prized possessions, a grey baton. I could speak all day about the respect I have for Jon Waters as a leader.
For the first time, I am very disappointed in my university. If you want more change, the only person who understands this band and knows how to do that is Jon Waters. As a female member of The Ohio State University Marching Band Alumni- I stand with Jon.
Victoria “Tulsa” Nolte
Q-Row 2010-2013
Past Tau Beta Sigma President
Biology B.S. 2014 graduate"

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