LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — USC’s president has agreed to step down after pressure from faculty over a scandal involving a university gynecologist accused of abusing students, the university’s board of trustees said Friday.
The timing of the departure of President Max Nikias is unclear, but a news release Friday implied he will leave the post immediately.
“Today, President Nikias and the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees have agreed to begin an orderly transition and commence the process of selecting a new president,” USC board of trustees Chairman Rick J. Caruso wrote. “We recognize the need for change and are committed to a stable transition.”
The decision comes after dozens of professors, students and alumni called for Nikias’ resignation in the wake of the scandal.
A 2016 internal investigation found gynecologist George Tyndall had conducted inappropriate pelvic exams and made sexually offensive remarks to patients. The university did not report the matter to the state medical board.
Tyndall routinely made crude comments, took inappropriate photographs and forced plaintiffs to strip naked and groped them under the guise of medical treatment for his “sexual gratification,” according to civil lawsuits filed this week.
“We have heard the message that something is broken and that urgent and profound actions are needed,” Caruso said in the letter. “We recognize the need for change and are committed to a stable transition.”
USC has said Tyndall was placed on administrative leave in 2016 and never returned to treating students after officials received a complaint from a staff member at the health clinic. The staff member alleged that Tyndall made inappropriate comments to a patient in front of medical assistants.
The university said it has previously reviewed complaints that Tyndall made racially inappropriate comments.
Nikias, 65, who became the university’s president in 2010, had recently come under fire amid a string of scandals, including a report from the Los Angeles Times in July about how a USC medical school dean used drugs and partied with prostitutes.
A spokesman for USC said the university had no further comment.
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