More than 200 professors at the University of Southern California have called on President C.L. Max Nikias to step down, writing in a letter that he has "lost the moral authority to lead" after it was reported that the campus gynecologist was able to see patients for years, despite complaints.
The professors sent a letter to the USC Board of Trustees on Tuesday, saying Nikias failed to "protect our students, our staff, and our colleagues from repeated and pervasive sexual harassment and misconduct." The Los Angeles Times reported last week that Dr. George Tyndall, the only gynecologist on campus for several decades, was accused of inappropriate behavior, but he wasn't removed from the student health center until 2016, when a nurse complained to a rape crisis center.
An internal university investigation found that Tyndall's pelvic exams were outside the scope of current medical practice and considered sexual harassment. Tyndall, who denies any wrongdoing, was able to resign and receive a payout, and USC did not report him to the state medical board. USC Provost Michael Quick wrote in a letter on Monday that senior leadership on campus did not learn about the complaints until last year, and "this claim of a coverup is patently false."
An hour after the Board of Trustees received the letter, Chairman John Mork released a statement announcing that the trustees found the report on Tyndall "troubling" but they still "strongly support" Nikias. Nikias has said he understands "the faculty's anger and disappointment," and the university will rewrite its Code of Ethics. Catherine Garcia