Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The "Oath of Secrecy"

On July 24, 2014, a report released by the Ohio State University's Office of University Compliance and Integrity (now known as the Glaros Report, named for Chris Glaros, the Assistant Vice President of Compliance Operations and Investigations for the Office of University Compliance and Integrity) charged, among several other things that are now proving to be false, that members of the Ohio State University Marching Band were forced to swear oaths to secrecy about "inappropriate" goings-on in the organization. The Glaros Report mentions secrecy oaths three times in the report:
"On May 23, 2014 a parent of a Marching Band member visited the Office of University Compliance and Integrity and reported that she had concerns about whether the Marching Band’s culture was sexualized, and stated that its members were made to swear secrecy oaths about objectionable traditions and customs." -Page 3, The Glaros Investigation Report

"The complainant reported concerns about whether the Marching Band’s culture was sexualized. The parent further stated that the Band’s members were made to swear secrecy oaths concealing objectionable traditions and customs. ... take oaths not to tell about Fesler" -Page 4, The Glaros Investigation Report

It's true. We were sworn to secrecy over the most horrendous, sexual, abusive, and harassing things one could dream up. (That was sarcasm in case you missed it.)

Until yesterday (8/11/14), I was perplexed that a written "secrecy oath" had even surfaced. How ridiculous! I thought. I never swore an oath to secrecy. It turns out I was wrong. I honestly had forgotten about this because it was so innocuous. See for yourself.

This "oath" was given at the start of "Fesler Night" which is a casual gathering of the newly assembled band, held in the band room, at which skits are performed and the squad leaders play a couple school songs for everyone. Truth be told, I personally found many of the skits boring, uninspired, or just downright lame. Others were rather creative. Some were crude, using language we wouldn't use in public. Then again...we weren't in public. We were friends trying to make each other laugh in our own unique an quirky ways in order to hasten the bonding, and therefore, the effectiveness of how well we worked together in getting a job done that requires both individual effort and teamwork.

Will I tell you the specifics of the skits at Fesler Night? No, I will not. And it's not because I am ashamed or have anything to hide or that I think other alumni will be mad at me. I choose not to tell you because those are my memories. They are things that I experienced that not everyone can, and to me that means something. To you they are a curiosity. To you, they are a glimpse into a world in which you can't be a part. You may be looking for prurient details that simply aren't there. To you, my stories are mere hoped-for pornography. No, my memories and my experiences are mine.

-Sherri Rapp

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