The Daily Gamecock

Theater professor accused of sexual harassment removed from classroom

<p>The sun rises behind the Maxcy monument on the Horseshoe.&nbsp;</p>

The sun rises behind the Maxcy monument on the Horseshoe. 

A USC theater professor has been removed from the classroom as of Tuesday in response to accusations of sexual harassment against students. 

An email sent to students in the Department of Theatre and Dance on Thursday said professor Robert Richmond will be stepping away from his "teaching, advising, and all other on-campus roles."

A screenshot of the email sent out after USC theater professor Robert Richmond was removed.

The email also said Richmond would not visit campus for the rest of the semester unless the university is given prior notice and is accompanied by department chair Jim Hunter.

Hunter and Joel Samuels, the interim dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, said in the email the decision was part of an effort to create "a safe and respectful environment" where students can "fully embrace [their] educational experience."

"We recognize that this is just the first step (but an essential one) along the way toward restoring the full trust of our students, staff, and faculty," the email said.

This action by the university comes after an article about Richmond's behavior was published in The State on March 12. The article said Richmond sent texts to a student asking to sleep with her and, on another occasion, asked female students to give lap dances during an audition for a play.

University spokesperson Jeff Stensland confirmed in a text that Richmond is still on the university's payroll. 

The email said Hunter, Samuels and the department's Faculty Executive Council will be working together to "create the learning environment that all students deserve."

"We want to assure you that we are committed to ensuring such an environment not only in the Department of Theater and Dance but across the College and University," the email said.

The Daily Gamecock reached out to Hunter and Samuels and is awaiting comment.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for more updates.