Response to OSUMB experience

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone for reading and sharing my blog post from yesterday (Drive through it OSUMB).  I have received innumerable comments (which I am still working to moderate and answer) – some in agreement and some that disagree with all or some that I have said.  I want to thank those of you who have disagreed with me, but understand that this post was one person’s experiences and one person’s opinion.  I’m sorry for those of you who cannot agree with me and yet judge me for what I have said.


I wrote this blog post as a response to negative media, that was labeling all OSUMB  members (alumni included) as perverts, homophobes and ugly people.  I wanted to remind my friends and readers that we are individuals, each with a story and opinion about an organization that we were a part of while in college.  Naively, I assumed my friends, family and fellow band alumni would read it.  I did not expect that in the first day, over 17,000 people would read it, and respond in force.


Because I did not expound on all of the experiences I stated in my blog post, some of you have chosen to think the worst of me and assume, for example, that while I chose to stay in the band, I did nothing to improve the climate of the band, speak up or that I must have agreed with everything that went on off the field, or when I experienced sexual harassment in the past, I did nothing to report it.  I have to disagree with you and your assumptions, as do many of my classmates and bandmates who knew me then.  As a Christian, I stood up and spoke up for what was right, even when it meant going against the flow.  I chose to stay in the band to try to make it a better place for all.  Every organization needs Christians in their midst.  Just because I chose to stay and perform with the OSUMB did not mean I condoned everything that went on privately off the field.  It’s the same to say that just because someone is my friend or family member and I love them, I must agree with everything they do or say.  If I abandoned everyone at the first sign of disagreement, where would that put me?  I’m also not saying that withdrawal from an organization is not warranted in some situations.


My second and third years in the band, I helped to lead a Bible study with a few other fellow band members during the marching season.  I can tell you, I never would have had the platform of respect in others’ lives had I – 1) not been in the band, and 2) not stood up for what I believed while in the band.  I can say for a fact that several who attended these Bible studies later accepted Christ and went on to be in ministry or missionaries, while others grew in their faith by seeing some strong Christian examples in the band.


I’m not one for cliché examples or quotes, but one comes to mind when I am being judged and told in comments that I should be ashamed of myself or that I am the one who has to live with my decisions.  Jesus ate with the tax collectors (see story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19 or Levi in Mark 2).  Jesus was amongst sinners all his life, as a witness for the “better” life and repentance; the fulfilling life that only He can provide.   I was, and still am, an advocate for change, but change doesn’t happen overnight; change can happen from within, one person at a time.


I agree that something must be done.  I agree that mistakes have been made and no one is 100% innocent.  I agree that change is inevitable and that change is a good thing when it protects people from harm.  I just ask that you keep an open mind when listening to the media, because the media I read over the weekend, which was portrayed as truth, was lacking in truth from many angles.  Even the report from the university misconstrued facts about people.  I ask that you “do your homework”, as I continue to do mine, before condemning a man, a band and a university.



2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Debbie Billman on July 28, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Sorry people are choosing to judge you from your thought-provoking article. May God be your strength as you navigate this crazy world of online media. blessings.


  2. Posted by Dave on July 28, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    Well said Melissa. I am also a TBDBITL alumnus from the mid noughties and can say that your experience was similar to mine. I had mates in both Athletic and Marching band that were black, white, Asian, gay, transgendered, religious, etc.
    I, as am alum took more offence to these accusations that anything that I was ever exposed to in either band organisation. Did we sing some songs about other schools? Absolutely! And we ALL sang loud and proud until the directors reprimanded us for doing so, but yet the report suggests nothing was ever done. Did some people go to events and drink? Again, absolutely! But I can count on one hand the numbers of times that I drank with band mates, even though I attended multiple functions. We were college students…
    One of the most upsetting accusations in the report was the labelling of us all as perverts and homophobes. Well maybe some would consider me the first one, if you classify being an expert in sexual health as a pervert. I have also recently submitted my PhD thesis which examined heteronormativity (look it up if don’t know this word) in sex education from the viewpoint of LGBT individuals. Lets also add the fact that whilst I am married, we live with a gay man. So tell me, where does the homophobia start? I know I am but one example, but I know most of my bandmates would agree with my assessment. In fact, I know of only one occasion where I can think of harassment by an individual, which was addressed by others in the row and by staff. I won’t go into detail, but suffice to say that both parties worked it out and in the end actually got on.
    As for those commenting about ‘physical’ abuse, I’m curious where this comes from? Nothing in the report, that I recall, suggests anything of that nature. Everything listed would be classed as emotional/psychological abuse, but again that is a far stretch. I participated in MR (midnight ramp), and I know several who didn’t. Have you not seen the underwear runs for charity across many campuses? Having lived for four years in the UK and now in NZ, these people would be amazing at what we see on a regular basis. Naked cycle rides, nude beaches and topless bikers OH MY!
    Many of my fellow female alumnae have stated how empowering the experience was for them, and for that I must say, good on ya, for taking so much away from such a wonderful experience! Although we are from different eras, the people, tradition and excellence is what makes tOSUMB the world class organisation that it is.


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Even A Girl Like Me

A Preacher's Kid... Prodigal Daughter... Sinner Saved by Grace... Redeemed...Recovered...Renewed

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