UNCC professor files lawsuit claiming sexual harassment by university employee

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A music professor at UNC Charlotte is suing the school, claiming that he and his colleagues were sexually harassed by a department chair.

David Russell is the Anne R. Belk distinguished professor of violin at UNCC. He has taught and performed all over the world.

In the lawsuit, Russell claims he and his colleagues faced inappropriate comments and touching from a university employee.

“We have an African American colleague that the chair gave an unwanted kiss to and told him he tastes like chocolate,” Russell said. “I’m the senior ranking member of the faculty and that behavior was happening to me, too.”

Russell filed a complaint with the university in 2017 but claims the school retaliated since he came forward. He alleges that at his latest five-year review, his job requirements suddenly changed.

“I have a new job description that I have never been evaluated on in all of my years at UNC Charlotte,” he told Channel 9 anchor Allison Latos.

Channel 9 contacted the school to ask about the case and was told: “While we don’t typically comment on pending litigation, we are confident the facts in this case will demonstrate that any allegations are baseless and without merit.”

In court documents filed on Friday, UNCC claims that there is substantial evidence about Russell’s job performance such as “student complaints about his spotty attendance and inappropriate classroom demeanor.”

Russell said federal court will decide what comes next.

“I want to look out for my reputation (and) for the future of my faculty colleagues, because if they can do this to me as a distinguished professor, they can do it to someone looking to be promoted or receive tenure,” he said.

The school’s attorneys have asked for the case to be dismissed.

Channel 9 will continue to follow this developing story.

(WATCH: Lawsuit accuses UNCC professor of sexual misconduct)