COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- Ohio State University President Michael Drake isn't backing down from a decision to fire marching band director Jon Waters.
"I'm not changing my mind," he said in his first public comments about the situation.
Drake announced the firing with a YouTube video, but has so-far ducked questions from reporters. He took questions on Wednesday during a speech to the Columbus Metropolitan Club. The new OSU president joked with the crowd that not only did he not get a honeymoon period, he didn't even make it out of the church.
Drake maintains that the report he was given, two weeks after he took office, was the foundation for his decision to fire Waters. It's a decision he believes was based on fact and is ready to defend if Waters decides to file a lawsuit. He doesn't see anything on the horizon that would cause him to reconsider Waters' firing.
"The facts are as they were. The decision was based on those facts. The decision is the same," Drake said.
He says that Ohio State cannot allow "an environment conducive to sexual harassment." He believed that a change had to be made at the top of the marching band.
"The right decision is not always the easiest decision or the most comfortable decision or the one that you want to make," Drake said. "But at the end of the day the right decision is the right decision."
The report covered a period of time from the spring of 2013 to the summer of 2014. Drake says they didn't go further back than that because that was the period in which the complaints came from.
Waters has often said that he never had a chance to meet with Drake, but would like to. Drake appeared open to that idea, but said Waters met with the provost because that was university policy.
"That's where his unit reports and that was appropriate for this circumstance," Drake said.
Drake says the focus is now on moving things forward with the current students and band leadership.
"The facts in this case showed us that there was a culture that was not in line with our requirements under Title IX, not in line with our principles, not in line with our values and we needed to make a change to move forward," Drake said.
About a dozen alumni band members gathered outside to protest Drake and call on him to re-hire Waters.
"A lot of people that were named in the report have spoken out against what the report has stated. In fact, we now know that the report has given false testimony, if you will, for some of the comments that were made, taken out of context, twisted around to support what the report has shown rather than what the actual intent of the comments were," said Dana Smith, a drummer with the band.
He says current and former band members dispute much of what the report found. Smith says it was a very one-sided report and investigators didn't talk with enough people to get an accurate view of the band culture.
"Don't believe the report, believe what you're hearing from the actual people who have been in the marching band in the past and are in the marching band now. The culture has changed for the better," Smith said.
He wants to see Waters and Drake sit down and talk and ultimately see Waters get his job back.