Outcry over firing of Ohio State band director

Members of the Ohio State University marching band sit on a rolled tarp at the edge of the field waiting to perform at halftime of the NFL football game between the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens in Cleveland, Ohio, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2006. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta) ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ohio State University and some former members of its esteemed band are now marching in different directions.

The former members say the university wrongly fired its director last week. Contrary to an investigation, they say weren't subjected to sexual harassment and are now calling for him to be reinstated, CBS News correspondent Ben Traci reports.

Many of the former band members say it isn't the culture of the band or the band's director Jon Waters that is to blame, but rather Ohio State that has now made them feel sexualized and degraded.

"I did not feel like I was being sexually harassed, I did not feel like I was part of a culture that was sexualizing and objectifying me," said Alexandra Clark, a member of the marching band from 2009 through 2011.

The investigation released last week exposed the "sexualized culture" of the band, which involved members marching in their underwear and senior members giving new members sexually explicit nicknames.

The university then fired band director, saying he knew of the alleged harassment but did not stop it.

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Former Director Jon Waters
AP

"We will make this a better and safer institution and we begin today," said OSU President Michael Drake.

But now, more than 8000 current and former Ohio state students have now signed a petition for Waters' reinstatement, calling the move a 'miscalculated overreaction'.

Clark agrees, even though her rookie moniker was among the list of sexually explicit nicknames: "joobs": a term used to describe a Jewish woman with a large chest.

But it's almost a point of pride for her and her family; they had it printed on the backs of OSU jerseys, with doctor and momma joobs attending many games. The only time she felt upset by the name was when OSU publicized it.

"It wasn't until I saw that report by Ohio state and the investigators and their compliance dept and how people on the internet were talking about me that I actually felt sexualized and degraded," Clark said.

Even as band members, past a present, step forward to dispute the claims, the university is standing by its decision.

"It's very difficult to see something and someone you love get dragged through the mud by a report that seems to be very biased," Clark said.

The university has appointed a former Ohio attorney general to lead an independent task force which will conduct a full review of the band culture and recommend changes.

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