BOSTON (CBS) – Two Boston University students have filed a Title IX lawsuit, claiming the school did not properly protect them when they reported sexual harassment by a music professor.
Boston University music students Erin Shyr and Maria Currie joined attorney Carmen Durso at a Tuesday press conference announcing the lawsuit against professor Eric Ruske and the trustees of Boston University.
A Boston University spokesman declined comment on the lawsuit, saying he had not yet had the chance to review the complaint.
During the press conference, Shyr said she thought about quitting school because of Ruske’s alleged actions.
The lawsuit calls for judgement against Ruske and the trustees “in an amount which is fair, just, and adequate for the injuries and damages sustained, and the pain and suffering endured, plus punitive and exemplary damages where allowed by law, plus interest and costs, and reasonably attorneys’ fees where allowed by the law.”
According to the complaint, Boston University “nurtured an environment where faculty members understand that if they harass one of their students, they will face few, if any consequences.”
The defendants say Ruske was not properly punished for his actions because he attracts grant money and is well respected in his field.
Included in the lawsuit are several text messages and emails from Ruske to his students.
Shyr and Currie say they did not know each other at the time the alleged harassment took place.
In 2013, Currie was a 19-year-old member of the Boston University quintet, which was coached by Ruske.
Currie claims that during a rehearsal, Ruske commented on the high heeled shoes she was wearing.
About a month later, according to the lawsuit, Ruske emailed Currie and said “I will certainly miss hearing and working with you in the quintet next semester (and of course seeing the concert heels).”
Both Ruske and Shyr provided text message and email exchanges with Ruske where they felt the professor was asking for nude photographs.
The students have asked for a trial by jury on all 10 counts included in the lawsuit.