(LOS ANGELES) — Hundreds of faculty members at the University of Southern California have backed a motion for the school’s president to resign over how he handled sexual-abuse allegations levied against a former campus doctor.
The letter, obtained by ABC Los Angeles station KABC on Tuesday, said USC President C.L. Max Nikias should step down because he mishandled complaints against a former campus gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall.
Two-hundred faculty members across 14 USC schools had signed the letter as of Tuesday evening, claiming Nikias lacked the “moral authority” to lead the university’s investigation into the matter, according to KABC.
“President Nikias’ actions and omissions amount to a breach of trust,” the letter said. “He has lost all moral authority to lead the university, and in addition, to lead the investigation of institutional failures that allowed this misconduct to persist over several decades.”
The letter came in the wake of lawsuits filed against the school and Tyndall by current and former students who’ve accused the doctor of molesting patients for several decades. At least six women have sued the university alleging misconduct.
One civil lawsuit claimed USC ignored complaints that Tyndall allegedly made crude remarks, took inappropriate photographs and groped patients to “satisfy his own prurient desires.”
Tyndall, who worked at a USC student health clinic for 30 years, denied wrongdoing in interviews with the Los Angeles Times.
USC Board of trustees Chairman John Mork said the university’s executive committee planned to support Nikias.
“We strongly support President Nikias’ implementation of a thorough and comprehensive action plan that addresses these issues and enables USC to continue exemplifying our Trojan Family values as we move forward,” Mork said in a statement Tuesday. “We have zero tolerance for this conduct and will ensure that people are held accountable for actions that threaten the university student body and that do not reflect our culture of respect, care, and ethic.”
Nikias also issued a lengthy statement on the school’s website laying out its action plan at the board’s request.
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