March 25, 2021
Dear USC Community,
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am writing to underscore the significance of today’s settlement agreement for the victims of George Tyndall and to assure you that critical steps have been taken to prevent such horrific acts from ever happening again at USC.
No settlement could ever adequately address the deep pain and sense of personal violation that these innocent victims must have experienced. The behavior that was discovered shocks the conscience of the university to its core. It compromises the very foundation of honor and integrity upon which this institution was built and betrays the trust that our students have long expected from us. Our institution fell short by not doing everything it could to protect those who matter to us most – our students. For years, the victims of George Tyndall suffered in silence. I am sorry for the pain this caused the very people we were obligated to protect.
Today marks the end of a painful and ugly chapter in the history of our university. More importantly, it signals a critical step forward in strengthening and reweaving the fabric of our community.
As the revelations about George Tyndall surfaced, it became clear that the university had fallen far short of the values for which it has long stood and the essence of what makes USC such a special place. In the aftermath of these reports, I was asked to be board chair. The board immediately took swift action to restore trust, accountability, and faith in our university. Even as we were beginning to learn the extent of the abhorrent acts inflicted upon our students, we began to put in place significant protections and protocols to prevent this type of behavior from ever happening again. Our restructured board installed Dr. Folt as president and a new leadership team with a mandate to drive meaningful reforms, through oversight and full accountability. We are steadfast in our commitment to assuring that these steps have the intended impact and reflect real change.
As we work to restore trust and rebuild our community, our guiding principle must always be to foster an environment where all students, faculty, and staff feel welcome and safe. While we have much work to do, I am proud of the progress we have made since the difficult summer of 2018 and have great optimism for the future of our university. On behalf of all my fellow trustees, as we move forward, I commit to you that we will be unwavering in our efforts to better enable USC to serve this generation and all of those that follow.
Rick J. Caruso
Chair, USC Board of Trustees