COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- Several current OSU marching band members spoke with reporters for the first time since Jon Waters was fired as band director. All of them defended Waters and said that the culture was changing under his leadership.
"I came in in 2010 when Dr. Woods was still the director and there was an exponential culture change since that time," said David Pettit, a fifth year student and head drum major in this year's band.
Pettit says he was called into Waters' office shortly after being named head drum major and told that unpopular changes were coming this year and he was asked to help implement them.
"It was a drastic change from the year before he was director to his second year as director," said John Joyce, a fifth year band student.
Joyce says the students were involved in the process to allow them to have some ownership over it.
Zack Nellom, a fourth year student, saw Waters making changes every day. He says the culture was changing to make it a safe environment for students.
"That was his main focus and that's why a lot of students are shocked and frankly confused as to why he's not for one being acknowledged for that and two why was he not helped in his efforts," Nellom said.
Nellom is hopeful that the university will have a change of heart and re-hire Waters, something OSU President Michael Drake has indicated won't happen.
Scott Jones, associate director of the university bands at Ohio State, is one of two men tasked with leading the band on an interim basis. He's focused on making sure the students are taken care of and doing well.
"I'm staying really completely consumed with their well-being and that's a great help in the midst of all of this," Jones said.
He didn't want to talk about the report from the university. Jones said the band won't try to "one up" last year's performances, but will continue to do innovative things this season. He said Waters loved the students.
Some of the current band members expressed concern about the report that led to Waters' firing.
"We're not a bunch of sex-crazed perverts. That's what I want people to know. We're good people," Pettit said.
(Photo courtesy Dave Maetzold)