USC graduate in lawsuit: study abroad trip included manual labor - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

USC graduate in lawsuit: study abroad trip included manual labor, unwanted sexual advances from a professor

(Source: WIS) (Source: WIS)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

A recent graduate of the University of South Carolina is suing the university, the school's president, and professor in a lawsuit claiming she was made to participate in manual labor during a study abroad trip and was also subjected to unwanted sexual advances from a professor. 

Allison Dunavant, a recent graduate of the university's School of Visual Art and Design's graduate program, filed the lawsuit which names university President Harris Pastides, Professor David Voros, and the International Center for the Arts, or ICA, as defendants. 

Voros is a co-owner and director of ICA headquartered in Italy. 

The case was filed in the Richland County Court of Common Pleas on Tuesday. 

The suit claims that during a 2016 study abroad trip to Italy, Dunavant said the professor required her to perform manual labor, restricted Dunavant’s access to food when she did not perform work to Voros’ expectations and subjected Dunavant to unwelcomed sexual advances.

The nature of the manual labor is detailed in the lawsuit: 

The nature of the work that Plaintiff was required to compete was beyond any reasonable expectation or representation. Some of the tasks required to be completed were cleaning a terrace covered with cat feces and debris, dumping out dirt filled planters, pulling nails and tacks out of walls, moving furniture, scraping tape off of shelves, scrubbing dried clay off of tables and boards, using brooms to knock down spider webs, removing paint from bricks with a sponge, painting a basement and attached room, and scrubbing cat urine from couches and their cushions.

The lawsuit also claims that Dunavant walked in on Voros and another student on the trip having sex, and claims the professor asked her to have sex with him as well. 

After two weeks in Italy, the University flew Dunavant back home early.

She claims the university did not listen to her claims and did nothing to protect her against retaliation from USC administration and faculty members. 

Dunavant is represented in this case by Samantha Albrecht of Cromer Babb Porter & Hicks. Samantha Albrecht supplied the following comment: 

What happened to Allison in Italy was horrible, and even worse was the treatment she received when she spoke up about what she experienced.

The facts of this case are extraordinary, and we believe these facts will ultimately spell out the lengths to which the University will go to silence students who speak up when they believe they are being treated unfairly. Allison was a dedicated student who did not deserve to go through any of what she went through, and we intend to work hard to see that justice is done.

Dunavant is asking for a jury trial to assess an amount of the damages. 

We've reached out to the university for comment on this lawsuit and they sent the following statement Tuesday evening: 

The university has not been served in this case and has not had an opportunity to review the complaint. As a general rule, we do not comment on pending litigation.

We take all student complaints and allegations seriously and investigate them appropriately. We encourage all students to come forward if they believe they have been mistreated in any way.

You can view the lawsuit here. 

Copyright 2018 WIS. All rights reserved. 

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