Sunday, August 3, 2014

Kristine Frey Tikson - Most Inspirational Bandsman 2012

Dr. Drake and the OSU Board of Trustees,

I am a proud member of The Ohio State University Marching Band. I am also a 53 year old woman.
I am a 1982 graduate of The Ohio State University. I graduated Summa Cum Laude, third in my class in the College of Administrative Science, with a BSBA degree. I became a certified public accountant, worked in the audit practice of an international accounting firm for 12 years, and then in the private sector as a member of senior management for a financial services company for 15 years. Upon retiring in 2010, I began to pursue my dream of becoming a member of the Ohio State Marching Band. I realized that dream in 2012 and have been a marching member of the band for the past two years.
I feel compelled to share my personal views of the recent investigation into the band and your decision to terminate Jon Waters. In my opinion, this decision was based on an investigative report that is seriously flawed in its scope and methodology. It is unfortunate that the leaders of our university did not have a true picture of the facts when this decision was made.
Only a handful of “witnesses” were interviewed during the investigation. Witness recommendations were made by the complainant and there appears to have been no attempt to interview anyone other than those predisposed to align with the views of the complainant. Further, the investigators relied on what amounts to “hearsay” with no attempt at verification. I find it particularly appalling that a personal conversation between two band members that occurred in 2007 as retold by one of those members is the basis for the “sexualized” culture reference ascribed to the entire band by the report. This reference has been widely sensationalized by the media. In addition, the report focuses on historical events and provides little information related to the many changes implemented by Jon Waters.
To be fair to Mr. Waters and the band, the author should have been required to complete a more representative and complete investigation which should have been presented to you before taking action or releasing the report.
As a 53 year old female member, my perspective of the band is somewhat unique. I would not describe the band “culture” as sexualized. I believe it is no more sexualized than the broader college environment in which it exists. We must remember that our society as a whole is sexualized and has continued to move in that direction at lightning speed since the issuance of Title IX in the early 1970’s.
I would describe the band “culture” as: commitment, dedication, inclusivity, acceptance, hard work, integrity, and self-sacrifice. I have experienced it from the inside for two years. I have often said that the members of TBDBITL are the best the university has to offer. I continue to stand by that statement. You will not find better representatives of the university – academically or morally. They are excellent young adults. Yes, they sometimes engage in immature activities and conversation that are reflective of their age and generational norms. Yes, as individuals they sometimes make poor decisions and those situations should be dealt with accordingly. However, it is unfair to characterize the OSU Marching Band “culture” in the way the report suggests.
I do not believe this situation was handled appropriately. The report should not have been released until it was a fair and complete assessment. I believe Jon Waters should have been retained as director and been given assistance and direction in his on-going efforts to eliminate or change some of the long-held traditions within the band.
I believe this action has caused unnecessary and irreparable harm to the university, the marching band, all university alumni, and to Jon Waters.
Please provide me with confirmation that you received my letter and your feedback on my comments.
Kristine Frey Tikson
BSBA 1982
OSUMB 2012 – present

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