Two USC professors accused of sexual harassment leaving the university

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Published: Apr. 7, 2023 at 8:11 PM EDT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) -Two University of South Carolina professors accused of sexual harassment are leaving the university.

David Voros, a painting professor, retired from the university in January, according to USC spokesman Jeff Stensland.

Theater professor Robert Richmond, whose legal name is Bourne, will resign effective July 1.

Neither had been teaching for some time.

Stensland said that Voros had not taught classes since 2020, while Bourne had not taught since 2021.

He would not say whether their departures are related to complaints or pending lawsuits against them.

However, Voros was slated to teach three online classes in the spring of 2021, but after student protests, the university decided not to give any teaching assignments to either professor that spring.

In October 2021, the university sent an email to students from Joel Samuels, the Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

It said in part, “Soon after becoming Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, I learned about concerning allegations of interpersonal misconduct by faculty and staff across the campus, including in this College. I have listened as many of you have expressed concerns about the University’s handling of these allegations. I understand the desire to see more concrete action.

Therefore, in the best interest of the entire campus community, I am writing today to let you know that, with the approval of the Provost, Professor David Voros and Professor Robert Bourne will not be assigned any teaching responsibilities in the upcoming Spring semester and will remain barred from campus unless specifically authorized by Provost Cutler or me. I hope this action provides some reassurance that the concerns voiced by many in our community have been heard — both by me and by University leaders.”

In a court deposition from December of last year, Voros revealed that he had instead been reviewing the syllabi, and developing an online course curriculum.

He was sued in 2018 by a female student who alleged that he made unwanted advances toward her, and retaliated against her.

Samantha Albrecht, the lawyer who represented the woman, told WIS the lawsuit has been settled and resolved.

In court documents, Voros claimed the woman “recanted” some of her allegations.

He had denied the woman’s claims.

There are two pending lawsuits against Voros.

One is from his ex-wife, a USC professor, who alleges that he sexually harassed her and created a hostile work environment for her.

Another, from a former professor, alleges that Voros took her into a dark closet of an unused classroom and held a plastic head in front of her face.

The lawsuit claims that Voros then whispered into her ear to look through a small window in the closet.

The former professor said that she could feel Voros’ breath on her skin, and felt intimidated.

Voros in court documents said this is an art tool that all students utilize.

Complaints against Bourne were filed with the university, but there are no lawsuits against him.

Voros’ lawyer, Damon Wlodarczyk sent WIS a statement on Friday, which reads in part, “I cannot comment on pending litigation other than to state that Mr. Voros vehemently denies the allegations in the present actions.”

WIS reached out to Bourne to ask why he was resigning from his position but did not receive a response.

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