A federal court jury awarded a female professor $500,000 in damages after she charged acts of sexual harassment were made by the president Voorhees College in 2002 and 2003. The jury concluded that college officials “acted with malice or with reckless indifference” toward her. A final judgment is expected soon.
Dr. Moreen B. Joseph brought the civil lawsuit against the college and its president Lee E. Monroe and Voorhees College, contending that Monroe had sexually harassed her and the college failed to react. Dr. Joseph stated in the lawsuit that for nearly two years underwent “lewd, gross and suggestive language of a sexual nature and unwanted touching” by Mr. Monroe, president of the South Carolina college. She contended that the constant rejection of advances by the president led to the “loss of her position” and income. The college maintains that Dr. Joseph did not follow its policies for reporting sexual misconduct and furthermore was not terminated but “voluntarily quit.” The college also maintains that Mr. Monroe did not take part in sexual harassment.
At the end of the four day trial, the jury found for the plaintiff on all but one of the charges and further concluded that the president had sexually harassed Dr. Joseph and provided a hostile environment in which to work. The jury also ruled that representatives of Voorhees College “acted with malice or reckless indifference to her federally protected rights..
Don Fowler, Voorhees College Board of Trustees member and spokesperson, comment on the ruling, “The proceeding … was disappointing but there are additional steps before the final determination is made in respect to this proceeding. We continue to have faith and confidence in Dr. Monroe, and I will not have any other comment until the court has concluded all of the steps in this process..
Dr. Joseph was represented by Herbert W. Louthian, also commented on the ruling, “I feel that the jury was very conscientious in their approach to the case. They were attentive, they were diligent, they did their duty and, in so doing, they have helped us protect the lives of women in the workplace.”
Since the trial began, many comments have been made on the web regarding the trial, president Monroe and the state of Voorhees college. While many comments support Dr. Joseph, wish strength of the school and students to get past this embarrassment, comments overwhelmingly call for the resignation of the Lee E. Monroe in order to restore the integrity of the college and the and faith in the college by the students. Many of these comments came from people stating to be past or current employees and students as well as parents and concerned residents.