Tyndall is a symptom as well as a cause for why President Nikias should go , Mr. Caruso

The LA Times has another article on President Nikias this morning, and I guess I want to spend a little time connecting the dots for people who don’t understand why some of the faculty are asking President Nikias to step down. At our faculty meeting yesterday, I had a similar problem. One of my colleagues focussed on what did Nikias know when, and whether a health services CEO would be held accountable for predatory practitioner.

This seems to be what dominates the minds of some BoT, too.

Caruso said in a brief interview with Times columnist Steve Lopez that he was still trying collect all the facts regarding Tyndall.

“I need to understand what happened, why it was never fully reported and why his conduct was able to continue for so many years,” Caruso said. “I know enough to know I don’t have all that I need to know.”

I don’t know exactly what Caruso would need to know here in order for things to be clearer. We aren’t holding President Nikias responsible for all 25+ years of abuse conducting by one individual. We are holding him on the hook for the 13 years in which he was president and provost who possessed a top-down, imperious, “I don’t care how you get ‘er done just get ‘er done” attitude that left a bunch of us shouting into a void when we reported these things.

Everything you need to know about why the reports didn’t get to the top is right in the Times article:

The trustees came under criticism at a heated forum Wednesday that ended with the faculty senate voting to call on Nikias to resign. Some speakers said it seemed the Board of Trustees answered to Nikias instead of the other way around.

“The main problem is this institution does not have a Board of Trustees. Max has a Board of Trustees,” one faculty member said, to applause and cheers.


Professor Gary Painter, who voted for Wednesday’s resolution as a senator for the Sol Price School of Public Policy, said the board and Nikias have become increasingly remote from faculty, students, staff members and others at the university.

“One of the issues the senate is grappling with is the fact that over the last decade or so there has been a greater and greater disconnect in governance between the president and the Board of Trustees and the rest of the university,” Painter said.

So I advise several student groups that have written letters to the Board of Trustees weighing in. They can’t figure where to send their ideas and concerns.

The Price faculty council penned a letter. We can’t figure out where to send it. Maybe we should have them send the letters to the LA Times?

And thus:

USC Provost Michael Quick said that the university’s senior leadership had not learned about the complaints against Tyndall until 2017. The university, in a secret deal last summer, allowed Tyndall to quietly resign with a financial payout.

Golly, our leaders just didn’t know. Of course they didn’t. In order to get their attention, the case had to involve a guy who got his jollies allegedly (cough) slicing young women with a scalpel and causing them pain during their pelvic exams.

Can you imagine just how toxic an environment can get for women and people of color when THAT GARBAGE takes THIRTEEN YEARS to get the attention of the people with power in an organization? Think about how much undermining, meanness, bullying, and abuse has gone unreported and undisciplined (and thus was encouraged) and ignored in that time.

If you need some more stories, I got ’em.

BTW, don’t tell me the President has a plan. The President has a plan that would further insulate him from the faculty. This is not the leadership we need.