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200 Professors Call On USC President To Resign Amid Sex Misconduct Scandal

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – In a letter penned to the University of Southern California Board of Trustees Tuesday, 200 faculty members asked President Max Nikias to resign in the wake of allegations USC officials may have tried to hide sexual misconduct allegations leveled against a longtime school gynecologist.
FILE — USC President Max Nikias. (USC/Flickr)
In the letter obtained by the Los Angeles Times, the faculty “call upon President Nikias to step aside, and upon the Board of Trustees to restore moral leadership to the university.”
Dr. George Tyndall, 71, was a full-time gynecologist at the Engemann Student Health Center for nearly 30 years. However, it wasn’t until 2016 that the school began investigating him over allegations of improper pelvic exams and making racist and sexually inappropriate remarks. Former colleagues had questioned his methods of pelvic exams, specifically, his practice of digital insertion before using a speculum.
On Monday, four former female students sued USC , claiming that the school intentionally hid the alleged sexual misconduct. The complaint alleges that Tyndall forced the women to strip naked on multiple occasions, during which he “groped” and “digitally penetrated” them.
On Tuesday, celebrity attorney Gloria Allred was holding a news conference to announce her own lawsuit on behalf of two more alleged victims of Tyndall.
On May 15, Nikias, who has been in the role of president since 2010, announced that the school’s Office of Equity and Diversity received a complaint about Tyndall in June 2016 and immediately launched an investigation — which included surveying 2,500 student patients — and placed Tyndall on administrative leave.
USC didn’t terminate Tyndall’s employment until June 2017. The L.A. Times had been investigating Tyndall for months prior to the university’s acknowledgment Tuesday.
The Times reports that the school received complaints against Tyndall as early as the year 2000. Last week, following the revelation, the Times said about 200 more patients had come forward with complaints against Tyndall. The paper said some of those cases would soon be forwarded to the Los Angeles Police Department.
“Numerous students and nursing staff reported Dr. Tyndall’s misconduct in the years between 2000 and 2014, yet Dr. Tyndall was suspended only in 2016, after one brave staff person reported him to USC’s rape crisis center,” the faculty wrote in their letter.
Despite resigning, Tyndall did not lose his state medical license. He has never been criminally charged or even questioned by authorities.
“After concluding that the charges against Dr. Tyndall were true, the University allowed him to resign quietly,” the letter said. “By failing to notify the state Medical Board, law enforcement, or patients, the university allowed Dr. Tyndall to keep his medical license, continue preying on women outside USC, and escape the consequences of his abuse.”
Nikias claims he learned of the complaints against Tyndall in the fall of 2017, months after his resignation. The Times said USC had placed Tyndall on administrative leave for nearly a year before it reached “a secret deal with Tyndall last summer that allowed him to resign with a financial payout.”
Last week, USC fired two longtime student health clinic administrators as a result of the Tyndall scandal. Dr. William Leavitt, the lead physician at the Engemann Student Health Clinic, confirmed to the Times he was fired Friday afternoon. Tammie Akiyoshi, the clinical director at the health clinic, was also fired.
Former colleagues alleged Tyndall targeted young women, especially those from China and other Asian countries, for exams that included inappropriate touching and lewd remarks about patients’ sex lives and bodies, the Times reported.
The Chinese government issued a pointed public statement last week expressing “serious concerns” about USC’s handling of Tyndall.
(©2018 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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