Calls for US varsity president to resign over abuse scandal

Ms Danielle Mohazab on Tuesday describing an alleged assault by University of Southern (USC) California gynaecologist George Tyndall. USC president C. L. Max Nikias (above) is accused of failing to protect the students.
Ms Danielle Mohazab on Tuesday describing an alleged assault by University of Southern (USC) California gynaecologist George Tyndall.PHOTO: REUTERS
Ms Danielle Mohazab on Tuesday describing an alleged assault by University of Southern (USC) California gynaecologist George Tyndall. USC president C. L. Max Nikias (above) is accused of failing to protect the students.
USC president C. L. Max Nikias (above) is accused of failing to protect the students.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES • Two hundred professors at a top California university have demanded the resignation of the school's president over a widening sexual abuse scandal involving a campus gynecologist.

The faculty members of the University of Southern California (USC) said they wanted to "express their outrage and disappointment over the mounting evidence of president (C. L. Max) Nikias' failure to protect our students, our staff and our colleagues from repeated and pervasive sexual harassment and misconduct."

In their letter to the board of trustees, the professors said Dr Nikias had lost the "moral authority" to lead the private institution or to oversee an investigation into decades of alleged sexual abuse by Dr George Tyndall, a gynaecologist formerly employed at the school.

USC has come under seething criticism as it tries to contain the fallout from the scandal that erupted after the Los Angeles Times detailed how Dr Tyndall was allowed to practise for years despite complaints of misconduct going back as far as the year 2000.

The university's board of trustees rejected calls for Dr Nikias to step down, saying that while it was "troubled" by the scandal, it fully supported him.

So far, six women have filed lawsuits against the university and Dr Tyndall, now 71, with more expected to follow.

"Reportedly, USC was aware of Dr Tyndall's inappropriate conduct before I was even born," said one of his alleged victims, 21-year-old Daniella Mohazab.

The Filipino graduate student said Dr Tyndall performed a genital exam on her in 2016 without wearing gloves and made inappropriate comments about her ethnicity.

Another woman alleges that Dr Tyndall forced his entire hand into her vagina while examining her during an appointment in 2003 and made vulgar comments about her genitalia.

The lawsuits claim that the school only launched a probe in 2016 after a supervising nurse upset at USC's inaction reported him to the campus rape crisis centre.

He was then allowed to "quietly" resign last June.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 24, 2018, with the headline 'Calls for US varsity president to resign over abuse scandal'. Print Edition | Subscribe