The president of USC C.L. Max Nikias says he will step down following a series of scandals involving some doctors tied to the university, including the recent revelations about complaints of misconduct against former campus gynecologist George Tyndall.
In a statement addressed to USC faculty, staff, students and alumni Friday night, Rick Caruso, a member of the USC Board of Trustees and the head of its Executive Committee said Nikias and the Executive Committee "have agreed to begin an orderly transition and commence the process of selecting a new president.
"We appreciate the voices of the many members of the university community who have expressed indignation from the harm inflicted on our students by Dr. Tyndall. As a father of USC students, an alumnus and a member of the USC community, I share your outrage and understand the frustration and anger regarding the situation with the former physician," the statement says.
"The University of Southern California is governed by a Board of Trustees, with both a fiduciary and legal responsibility to that community. We have heard the message that something is broken and that urgent and profound actions are needed."
"Our actions will be swift and thorough, but we ask for your patience as we manage a complex process with due diligence. We will work with faculty, staff, student leadership and alumni, and our focus remains on offering support and counseling to those impacted, investigating what happened, and listening to and healing our community," said Caruso.
Nikias' announcement comes following pressure from both faculty and students. The Academic Senate and some 200 professors called for the president to step down in the weeks following allegations that campus Dr. George Tyndall had forced dozens of former students to strip naked in front of him before he groped them.
John Manly, the founding partner of Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, which represents more than 80 alleged victims of Tyndall, called Nikias stepping down ``the first step in a long process of healing for the victims of Dr. Tyndall.''
``It occurred because students faculty and alumni pressured the Board of Trustees to do the right thing,'' Manly said. ``It is our hope that their pressure will continue until the university reforms the culture which has enabled sexual abuse and holds all of the enablers accountable so this will never happen again.''
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