University of Southern California President C. L. Max Nikias has agreed to resign in light of a scandal involving Dr. George Tyndall, a former campus gynecologist accused of sexual misconduct and using racist language during exams.
KTLA-TV reports that USC and the school and Nikias "have agreed to begin an orderly transition and commence the process of selecting a new president."
"We recognize the need for change and are committed to a stable transition," said a statement from the executive committee of the university board of trustees. "Please know that 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."
Seven women have filed lawsuits against the university and Tyndall, who worked as a gynecologist at USC's student health center in Los Angeles for nearly 30 years. The lawsuits contend that the doctor used racist and inappropriately sexual language during consultations and conducted pelvic examinations with his fingers and didn't wear gloves.
"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," USC trustee Rick J. Caruso said in the executive committee's statement.
A USC faculty organization called last week for Nikias to resign. The group passed a resolution 24-0 with four abstentions, said Paul Rosenbloom, a computer science professor who is president of the USC Academic Senate.
Tyndall was fired in 2017 for inappropriate behavior. University officials said the school reached a settlement with the doctor and did not report him to law enforcement or state medical authorities at the time.
"We have heard the message that something is broken and that urgent and profound actions are needed," the executive committee said. "There is nothing more sacred to this board than the wellbeing of our students. We will be guided solely by what is in the best interest of this great university."