200 USC faculty join call for president's resignation amid physician sex abuse scandal


More than 2,000 people and 200 faculty members have called on Los Angeles-based University of Southern California President C.L. Max Nikias, PhD, to resign from his position following the latest scandal involving a former university physician, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Here are five things to know:.

1. Two hundred USC faculty members signed a May 22 letter to the university's board of trustees expressing their "outrage and disappointment" with Dr. Nikias and leadership over USC's handling of the case involving former chief gynecologist George Tyndall, MD, who continued to see patients for at least 30 years despite having numerous sexual harassment complaints filed against him. The university suspended Dr. Tyndall in 2016 after a nurse's complaint to the campus rape crisis center, and forced him out of USC in 2017 after  an internal investigation.

2. The university reportedly received allegations of sexual harassment against Dr. Tyndall dating to the 1990s, but did not make the allegations known to the Medical Board of California until after the university was approached by the Los Angeles Times for an investigation published May 16. Hospitals and clinics are required by California law to notify the medical board if they suspend or terminate physicians.

3. The faculty letter calls for Dr. Nikias' resignation and comments on the university's failure to change the way it handles sexual harassment at the institution. The signatories cite previous cases at the university, including the resignations of two Keck School of Medicine at USC deans after allegations of misconduct and sexual harassment.

"In this case, as in prior cases, … the University has kept the wrongdoing quiet, settled financially with the wrongdoer in secret, and denied any responsibility on the part of the University. … Time after time, the administration has admitted to its failings only after being exposed by the Los Angeles Times," the letter reads.

4. However, the board of trustees said in a May 22 prepared statement it has "full confidence in President Nikias' leadership, ethics, and values" and that the board "strongly support[s] President Nikias' implementation of a thorough and comprehensive action plan that addresses these issues."

5. The public outcry over university leadership comes days after at least six former USC students filed three separate lawsuits against the institution over Dr. Tydall's alleged misconduct. More than 2,000 people  also have signed two petitions calling on Dr. Nikias to resign or be placed on leave.

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