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USC tried to protect its reputation more than its female students. How'd that work out?

USC tried to protect its reputation more than its female students. How'd that work out?
The hands of a former patient of Dr. George Tyndall, the USC campus gynecologist who has been accused of misconduct. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The Los Angeles Times’ reporting on Dr. George Tyndall, the USC gynecologist who practiced on campus for 26 years despite repeated complaints of inappropriate conduct, disgusted me more than I can express.

The extent of this alleged abuser’s behavior and the length of time that it has been occurring is completely appalling. I am so grateful that Los Angeles has the fantastic investigative reporting staff of The Times to bring this to light to protect future students.

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As a former USC graduate student, I can’t help thinking how easily this could have been me and how awful, embarrassed and trapped I would have felt. By sheer luck, I was a patient at the student health center on the Health Sciences Campus, and not on the main campus, and received excellent care; however, I am sick thinking about what these young women were forced to go through when they needed basic medical care.

USC has utterly failed its female students. The unwillingness of the university to take decisive action after years of complaints constitutes abhorrent negligence and is a horrifying example of how women are not taken seriously when reporting abuse or in matters of their own health. It also reflects a larger problem of universities in general protecting their reputations at the expense of the safety and well-being of women.

Melissa Agnello, Valley Village

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To the editor: Once again, columnist Robin Abcarian says it like it is. Thanks to her for putting in print what it feels like to have a gynecological exam.

At my age, I know when a doctor’s behavior is wrong, and I speak up. When I was 19, not so much.

Shame on USC. Its pattern of dealing with medical abuses should perhaps be considered in students’ decisions as to where to go to college.

Ellen Butterfield, Studio City

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To the editor: The reporting on Tyndall has been great, but it could be taken a step further with some context, maybe from a law enforcement expert. These are some questions worth considering:

Was the “friendly” behavior toward some of Tyndall’s patients similar to grooming? Do photos of genitalia have to be “sexual” to be part of a harassment or an assault pattern? Can “annoying” or “inappropriate” behavior be part of the power and control that drives serial assaulters?

Is there a common history in college cases, that they are dismissed or not acted on by those in authority because they don’t fully understand what constitutes assault? Are the institutions concerned more about money and reputation? And are young victims less “believable” than someone respected and in power?

Maureen Milliken, Belgrade Lakes, Maine

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To the editor: What is wrong with the administration at USC?

First it was the drug-fueled Dr. Carmen Puliafito, former dean of the USC medical school (and dynamite donation rainmaker). Now it’s Tyndall, the finally suspended — in 2016! — gynecologist who practiced on campus for nearly 30 years.

As a UCLA alumnus, I am well-positioned to say what is wrong with USC, but even I could never imagine, in my wildest nightmares, a scenario where these two men would be protected by their administration against their defenseless students and patients. Perhaps having too much money, and God-like hubris, will finally result in the disgrace and expulsion from decent society of USC’s governing enablers.

Charles Ruebsamen, Rancho Cucamonga

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