Two former instructors filed lawsuits this week against the university and current professor in the School of Visual Art and Design David Voros on claims of sexual harassment and unfair treatment.
Jaime Misenheimer, a former instructor who resigned, and instructor Pamela Bowers, who has been out on leave since 2019, filed two separate lawsuits against Voros and the university.
The lawsuits allege Misenheimer and Bowers “were subjected to sexual harassment from Voros and received unfair treatment from Voros and the University based on their sex and reports of sexual harassment from Voros,” a press release from law firm Cromer Babb Porter & Hicks, LLC states.
Misenheimer and Bowers filed lawsuits against USC in addition to Voros because their complaints were “not handled properly and that both employees received negative treatment after their reports,” the press release states.
“The University and David Voros must be held accountable for their behavior, and that’s what we intend to do,” attorney Elizabeth Bowen, who is representing the case with attorney Samantha Albrecht, said in the press release.
University spokesperson Jeff Stensland said USC has not yet been formally notified about the lawsuits. Both cases were filed in the Richland County Court of Common Pleas on Nov. 23, according to the press release. The Daily Gamecock is awaiting clarification from Bowen.
A School of Visual Art and Design graduate, Allison Dunavant, filed a similar lawsuit against Voros in 2018. Dunavant alleged she “was forced to participate in manual labor or she would be denied food by Voros, from whom Dunavant also faced unwanted sexual advances,” while on a trip in Italy.
Bowen said Dunavant’s case has been closed but was not immediately able to disclose details.
Albrecht represented Dunavant in that case as well.
Voros is currently teaching several undergraduate studio art courses and a graduate course. He is slated to teach spring 2021 courses as well, according to Self Service Carolina's registration portal.
Some of the causes of action, or reasons for the lawsuit, include Title VII and Title IX violations. Title VII prohibits “employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin,” according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Title IX prohibits “sex discrimination in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“We are looking forward to litigating this case against USC and are hopeful that we can get it resolved in a favorable manner from our clients,” Bowen said.