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No amount of fundraising can absolve Nikias of responsibility in USC's horrific gynecologist scandal

No amount of fundraising can absolve Nikias of responsibility in USC's horrific gynecologist scandal
USC President C.L. Max Nikias at the university's commencement ceremony on May 11. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: My colleague Leo Braudy bemoans the “potshots” and “screeds” against USC President C.L. Max Nikias in response to revelations that the university conspired to cover up its latest scandal.

In outlining Nikias’ positive contributions to the university, Braudy never mentions the years of horrendous sexual abuse allegedly visited on vulnerable young women by gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall.

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Braudy, who did not attend the town hall meeting to speak up on behalf of Nikias, suggests that he was among those who registered their support of the president “privately.” He thereby reveals himself to be part of the problem, engaging in the very secretiveness and lack of openness that characterizes the university’s handling of its scandals.

USC promises to be more transparent, but its defenders clearly prefer to work sub rosa. Will there be any meaningful change as long as powerful men overlook the harm done to students and instead privately attempt to shore up the current power structure?

Tania Modleski, Los Angeles

The writer is a professor of English and comparative literature at USC.

..

To the editor: I found Braudy's article informative. In the end, the bottom line is that you can not equivocate on morality.

The university’s inaction resulted in many women being affected. There is no absolution in “balancing” good. People who do wrong always have another side where “favored” people are being treated well.

There is no excuse for a moral lapse. Nikias had to go.

Dan Grifka, San Marino

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To the editor: The chronic sexual and emotional abuse of young women over the course of decades by a trusted doctor is not “dust” that needs to be “brushed off,” it is a tragedy that deserves serious inquiry and systemic change. Young women were probably traumatized, most certainly humiliated.

By making light of this horrendous abuse of power, letter writer and former UCLA Vice Chancellor Alan Charles, once responsible for young students himself, has displayed a tone deafness that is both mind-boggling and scary.

Leaders, take note: Society is increasingly unwilling to accept the systemic abuse of women. It’s about time.

Leah Corry, Santa Monica

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