Boston University, Music Professor Sued for Alleged Sexual Harassment
Two women are suing Boston University and a music professor over accusations of sexual harassment, and alleging that school officials did not adequately respond to the situation despite being warned on multiple occasions.
According to the Boston Globe, current BU student Erin Shyr and former student Maria Currie filed a complaint in Superior Court on Tuesday alleging that faculty member and noted horn player Eric Ruske harassed the two women in person as well as through e-mails and text messages.
Ruske allegedly harassed Currie, now a New England Conservatory student, on a few occasions in 2013, including a moment where he compared her trumpet to having intercourse. The following semester, Shyr allegedly encountered a similar situation with Ruske at BU’s College of Fine Arts. According to the complaint, the professor attempted to solicit a photo from Shyr via e-mail.
When the women reported the incidents to the administration, the lawsuit says that the university did not take any actions against Ruske or try to figure out a way to make sure that he did not interact with them. The complaint also says that officials told Shyr and Currie that, due Ruske’s “vibrant and effusive” personality, the professor may not have been cognizant that he was breaking any sexual harassment policies.
“The problem is that this is a habit and a behavior of his,” Shyr told the Globe. “[Administrators] were excusing him by saying this is just his personality.”
According to the suit, the women are seeking an unspecified amount in damages as well as attorneys’ fees.
BU is one of several Massachusetts schools that is under investigation by the federal government for alleged Title IX violations.