Posted January 14, 1998 12:00 a.m. EST
CHAPEL HILL — It has been a rough six months for a nationally-acclaimed drama professor at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Last summer, six students claimed that David Hammond sexually harassed them. Yesterday, the university said it found no proof to back-up the complaints. Despite the ruling, Hammond says his reputation has suffered.
Hammond is back to teaching now. He was supposed to be off last semester, working on a book. Instead, he was working on a defense. He was cleared of the accusations, but that doesn't change the way the phrase "sexual harassment" sounds.
And Hammond found out that for a lot of people, a person charged, is a person guilty.
That's probably to be expected. What Hammond didn't expect, was that it didn't just come from strangers.
The charges against Hammond were that he used inappropriate language, and that he took part in kissing scenes during rehearsal. Now that he's been cleared, is there anything he wishes he'd done differently? No, he says.
Hammond is glad the situation is behind him, but says it's still difficult to walk the same hallways with the students who filed the complaint. They all have one semester of graduate school remaining.