When parents send their children off to college, they assume administrators, faculty, residential life staff, and fellow students will keep them safe. Unfortunately, colleges and universities – even highly ranked institutions like USC – fall short when it comes to ensuring the safety of students, specifically female students. Crucial lessons can be learned from the USC scandal involving George Tyndall and hundreds of women who have accused him of sexual misconduct since the 1990s.
One of Southern California’s most important private institutions is in a state of profound upheaval in the wake of allegations that its longtime campus gynecologist, George Tyndall, committed sexual misconduct against hundreds of women over several decades. Tyndall had been the subject of complaints from students and staff since at least the 1990s but continued practicing until 2016, when a frustrated nurse went to the rape crisis center. Administrators and attorneys worked out a secret deal with the gynecologist that allowed him to leave USC with a financial package and a clean record with the medical board. The doctor has denied any wrongdoing.
The costs of the scandal are steep. USC lost the president, C.L. Max Nikias, who had overseen record-setting fundraising and played a central role in the university’s meteoric rise in academic stature. Now USC must find a new leader and confront a tarnished reputation, diminished fundraising and mounting legal bills. It must also heal divisions on its rich and powerful board, where some remain bitter that Nikias was forced out.”
Before sending your child to college, speak with her about the realities of campus life. In addition, do your research on the campus your daughter will call home for the next four years. Yes, the academic reputation of a college or university is important. However, equally important are candid online reviews of campus life posted by students, complaint and sexual misconduct adjudication processes, and overall support systems in place – such as safe rides programs and residential life advisors trained in rape and sexual assault prevention – to aid in the safety of our daughters on college and university campuses. You can also schedule an information session with a College Prep For Girls admissions consultant or life coach who can provide you with a detailed analysis of your daughter’s dream school and steps she can take to protect herself on any college campus.
Image credit: Jody Hong Films