The president of the University of Southern California agreed to resign, the school board of trustees announced Friday night, amid growing indignation over allegations that the school's former gynecologist had harassed students for years.
C.L. Max Nikias has led the USC since 2010, pushing the private research university to more global ambitions, higher academic prestige and considerable fundraising ability. But last year, the scandals – and the way the administration dealt with them – overshadowed his successes and led to a flood of calls for his resignation.
Last week, the Los Angeles Times reported that the university had admitted gynecologist in the health clinic treated students despite complaints about his behavior continued for years. Within days, hundreds of women said she had been victimized by George Tyndall, who had been a doctor there for more than 30 years. Several lawsuits have been filed, alleging that Tyndall repeatedly sexually abused patients and that the university did not complain.
Tyndall could not be reached for comment, but he defended his exams as medically appropriate in an interview with the Los Angeles Times Week. According to USC officials, he was taken on vacation leave in 201
John Manly, a lawyer representing more than 80 women in trials against USC, has compared the university's response to complaints Tyndall on the way the Michigan State University leaders told women that they had been molested by Larry Nassar, who had been a doctor there. Manly was the leading advocate in a $ 500 million settlement reached last week with Michigan State.
Since the 1990s, he has been involved in many cases of sexual assault, the volume of calls – 90 in five days – is hard to believe, and the stories are just so disturbing … The only thing that comes close is Larry Nassar, "he said, and Manly believes it is because so many of Nassar's victims had the courage to comment that former USC students must also tell the truth.
The Academic Senate of the University formally demanded Nikia's resignation Wednesday, more than 8,000 people signed an online petition from alumni who demanded that USC blame "administrators for the support of sex offenders" More than 4,000 people petitioned for another online petition demanding resignation, and student leaders demanded answers.
Many did not practice just because of the accusations Tyndall angry. In 2017, the Los Angeles Times reported that the former Dean of the Keck School of Medicine abused even illegal drugs in his office at the USC, only a few months later the dean who had replaced him stepped back after being accused of sexual harassment. According to a letter signed by 200 senior faculty members, the university has repeatedly decided to make financial arrangements and cover up misconduct. They called on Nikias to resign and the board to "restore the moral leadership of the university."
The Chairman of the Board expressed his strong support for Nikia's presidency earlier this week. But on Friday, the trustees responded to the outbursts of rage.
"We have heard the news that something is broken and urgent and profound action is needed," said Rick Caruso, chairman of the Subcommittee of the Executive Committee of USC Board of Trustees, writing to the campus community Friday. "Today, President Nikias and the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees have agreed to start an orderly transition and initiate the process of electing a new president."
The Board promised to "rebuild our culture to reflect an environment of safety and security Transparency and transparency are of paramount importance and represent a systemic change that will prevent this from happening in the future Nothing more sacred than the well-being of our students, we will be guided by what is in the best interests of this great university. "
It's a good first step, Manly said," but anyone who thinks he does Problem solves is naive. "He said there had been complaints about Tyndall for decades, and there should be a thorough external investigation ending with recommendations for change of personnel, policies, and other institutional changes to protect young women at the university.
From the first day at the school Manly, an alumnus, said the students are told that they are part of the Trojan family. "If that's a family, it's our daughters, and they've been terrified."
Kris Coombs, the outgoing president of the USC Graduate Student Government, wrote in an e-mail that "for a large number of students, that was the right and only step." Since the summer, they included almost every meeting with Top Administrators to make them as transparent as possible about anything that could negatively impact students.
Coombs said the university needed a leader who would "vigorously tackle sexual issues on our campus and include students on every step of the way on this journey."
"The most important thing for many students now is that we have leadership that we can trust, leadership that we know will act with the moral and ethical integrity that is expected of all Trojans, and above all others who will prioritize our security. "
Paul Rosenbloom, President of the Academic Senate, wrote to the faculty on Friday that he welcomed the announcement of the curators and the prospect of a transition that could begin the healing process for a community in pain." … the Senate Recognized that over the past year, the breach of trust between the President and the a was "their common result, after hearing many voices that this breach of trust was irreparable," he wrote, and the only way forward was a change in the presidency , "This decision should not denigrate the great accomplishments of President Nikias' tenure, for which he rightly deserves recognition," he wrote, but they thought that was the best thing about the university. "With this change, we have reason to be optimistic."
Hilary Schor, professor of English and law at the USC and author of the faculty's letter, said Saturday she was thrilled that the board listened to worried voices about Nikias. "I think he really did not understand the depth of the charge," she said, horrifying many in the campus community and the ubiquitous feeling that her trust in the university was betrayed.
Schor praised Nikias' achievements in fundraising; Building new programs; bring the university onto the global stage; Promoting the entrepreneurial vision; to highly value the values of the arts, humanities and sciences; and obliges the university to combat social problems. "This type of vision is rare, and its ability to tell the story of the USC and attract donors and teachers is remarkable," Schor said. "… but I'm afraid that the university has left some of its moral values in search of rankings and their quest for prestige – and this is a wake-up call for all of us." "You can not be a great teaching and research university for all to be a place of morality and justice. "