The University of North Carolina System and UNC School of the Arts in Winston-Salem have settled a sexual misconduct and abuse lawsuit that began in 2021.

The survivors’ claims total $12.5 million. Payments will be spread out over four years with $10 million covered by the UNC System, and $2.5 million by UNCSA. The litigation brought by 65 alumni primarily concerns abuses that took place decades ago through the 1990s.

Evan Richey is the co-owner of Ovation Sound recording studio in Winston-Salem. During the 80s he was a teenage cello student at UNCSA where his mother Elaine taught violin for more than 20 years. He currently teaches an introduction to music technology course at the school and says he was glad to hear that a settlement had been reached.

"It's good that we can look back that far, and for folks to be held responsible for their actions," he says. "You know, these students were very vulnerable, and they deserve to be compensated in the way that they've been compensated. I hope individuals can be held responsible as well as institutions. I think the only really perfect outcome is if this would have never happened at all."

Richey adds that awareness around issues like faculty power dynamics and the vulnerability of students has grown exponentially since he was a student.

Chancellor Brian Cole says that his most important responsibility is caring for the well-being of students, faculty and staff. He says that includes the alumni who have courageously come forward in this lawsuit to share their experiences.

"Over the past couple of years as we’ve had to follow the legal process it’s always been our intent to do what we can to reconcile with the past in a manner consistent with our values of caring for our people, and with compassion, with empathy for survivors, and with a strong commitment to listening to them and to doing right by them," he says.

Cole says he’s committed to bolstering an environment at UNCSA that is one of safety and trust.

300x250 Ad

300x250 Ad

Support quality journalism, like the story above, with your gift right now.