USC Settles 2 Sexual Harassment Cases Against Ex-Professor

Two former co-workers, one of whom is an ex-wife, and a former student filed sexual harassment lawsuits against the ex-USC professor.
Published: May 9, 2024

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina (USC) settled two lawsuits connected to sexual harassment complaints made against former art professor David Voros.

The university agreed to pay a total of $280,000 to plaintiffs Pamela Bowers and Jaime Misenheimer, both of whom are former co-workers, The State reports.

Misenheimer accused Voros of luring her into a dark closet in the visual arts building in Feb. 2017 and making sexual advances. Voros allegedly retaliated by giving her poor performance reviews and preventing her from teaching classes.

The lawsuit also alleges several students told Misenheimer in 2017 that Voros made them uncomfortable. Misenheimer subsequently filed an official complaint on behalf of a graduate student in April 2017, and Voros allegedly responded by intimidating her in her classroom while she was teaching. Misenheimer resigned from her job in May 2019.

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Bowers, who is also Voros’ ex-wife, accused Voros of making “unwelcome physical and sexual advances” towards her in her campus office after they separated in 2016. Bowers said the separation was partially due to Voros having “one or more” sexual relationships with students or former students. A previous lawsuit filed against Voros in 2018 by former student Allison Duvanant was settled for $75,000. Duvanant accused Voros of making sexual advances and subjecting her to manual labor and poor living conditions during a study abroad trip in Italy.

After filing a complaint with several university officials, Bowers claims Voros would stand in her classroom doorway while she was teaching to intimidate her. He also allegedly taunted her and called her derogatory names.

In Jan. 2018, Bowers claimed Voros went to her office and tried to hug and grope her. She asked him to leave and he did but he was waiting by her car later that day.

Plaintiffs Accused Art Chair of Retaliation

All three lawsuits allege multiple university officials enabled Voros’ behavior and protected him by failing to adequately respond to their complaints.

Bowers and Misenheimer claim Peter Chametzky, the then-chair of the School of Visual Art and Design, retaliated against them for filing complaints against Voros. Bowers said Chametzky “unexpectedly” visited her at her office and threatened her job after she complained to several university officials about the harassment.

Misenheimer said she reported the Feb. 2017 incident to Chametzky but that he did not take any action. As part of the settlement, the university will give Misenheimer a letter of recommendation from Chametzky, according to Post and Courier.

USC Gave Ex-Professor Retirement Benefits

Voros left USC in Jan. 2023 as part of a resignation agreement, which the university called retirement. As part of the agreement, USC’s Educational Foundation agreed to pay a sum of money to the South Carolina retirement system so Voros could qualify as a 28-year employee and be eligible to receive full state retirement benefits.

According to documents, the foundation purchased three years, five months, and 16 days of service credit from the state. Voros cannot seek or accept future employment at USC, and agreed to discharge USC from any additional cost or complaints. Voros and the university are not allowed to make disparaging or defamatory comments about each other, per the agreement.

Voros last taught classes on campus in 2020. After a year-long paid sabbatical, the university agreed to allow him to teach several online classes in the spring semester of 2022. The university later reverded that decision following backlash.

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