After intense pressure from student activists, the University of South Carolina reassigned a tenured art history professor accused of intimidating and sexually harassing students and faculty members for years.
“Professor David Voros will not be teaching classes at the University of South Carolina this spring,” USC spokesman Jeff Stensland said in a statement Tuesday. “Instead, he will be assigned to other duties outside of the classroom until further notice.”
The university did not take sexual harassment complaints like those against Voros seriously enough, according to the 2,280 students – and more – who signed an online petition demanding Voros’ dismissal.
Voros’ alleged behavior was first revealed in 2018, when a former graduate student filed a lawsuit against him after a summer session abroad. In the court file, student Allison Dunavant said Voros approached her during class about the “USC in Italy” program, saying that “her works would benefit greatly from visiting Italy and seeing pictures. works of art – like those of Titian and Michelangelo – in person. . “
But Dunavant claimed that Voros had misled her and two other students during the three-week trip in 2016. The living quarters provided by Voros in the Tuscan village of Siena had bars on the windows and the building was “Filled with cat urine, scorpions, and spiders,” according to the costume. Voros would not let her eat until she finished her work, which included, among other things, “cleaning a patio covered with cat droppings and debris”, “removing paint from bricks with a sponge” and “scrubbing the Cat urine from the couches and their cushions, ”according to Dunavant.
Voros reportedly promised Dunavant that she wouldn’t have to work so hard if she wanted to sleep with him – as one of the other two students on the trip apparently did. The university did nothing in response to his claims, Dunavant said Post and courier.
On Twitter, Dunavant called Voros’ removal from the class a “big step,” but said the professor should in fact be fired.
“It’s always USC that interprets its policies in a way that is gray and unfavorable to student safety,” she said. wrote.
USC has not filed an official response to the allegations. A USC spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Beast. Last year, USC banned Voros from taking students abroad.
In November, two former colleagues sued Voros, including his ex-wife, Professor Pamela Bowers, who also taught art at USC. After leaving Voros in 2017 because of his irregular relations with students, Voros became hostile and continued to make unwanted sexual advances to Bowers, according to his lawsuit. After being continuously harassed and even stalked across campus, Bowers took unpaid leave last year. She has not yet returned to work.
In a separate lawsuit, Jaime Misenheimer, who taught with Voros and Bowers, made similar statements. According to Misenheimer’s file, Voros harassed her and made inappropriate sexual advances on numerous occasions. In one episode, Voros allegedly locked Misenheimer in a closet, put his arm around her, and held a plastic doll head in front of her face.
“The plaintiff could feel her heavy breath on her skin and the front of her body touching the back of her body,” said the lawsuit. “The plaintiff froze in fear and felt disgusted and intimidated by the actions of defendant Voros … The plaintiff left the closet shaking and reported the incident …”
When she complained, Misenheimer’s costume says school administrators told her to “think about the guy.” The head of the department, Laura Kissel, reportedly told Misenheimer to “place crystals on her desk to feel safe.” After realizing that USC would not take any substantive action against Voros, Misenheimer resigned in 2019.
“While the University may finally remove David Voros from his teaching duties for the time being, the University has not terminated David Voros from his tenure as Full Professor, and I understand he will continue to receive his entire salary. ” Elizabeth Bowen, a lawyer representing Bowers and Misenheimer, told The Daily Beast. “In addition, the first charges against David Voros started in 2016.”
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