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USC Settlement Is A Reminder That Campus Gynecologist Preyed on Asian Students

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Days after USC announced an $852 million settlement to sexual abuse lawsuits against its former campus gynecologist, George Tyndall, faculty and administrators are worried about the impact of the news on Asian and Asian American students on campus.

“George Tyndall specifically preyed upon Asian women,” said Lucy Chi, a 2014 USC graduate who spoke in an online press conference about the impact of Tyndall’s alleged abuse. The Los Angeles Times reported that an internal USC investigation described how Tyndall targeted Asian and Asian American female students.

Zoe Corwin, who teaches in USC’s school of education, told LAist: “We, as faculty and practitioners at the university, need to be really in tune with our students and how the news is affecting them."

Corwin teaches students who want to become college student affairs administrators. Part of that instruction involves how to navigate these kinds of crises. Some of Corwin’s students are Asian American.

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“On top of all of the anti-Asian violence they've been facing, to receive this news that Tyndall targeted students of their similar identities, it's really important for us to acknowledge that and pay special attention to those student groups,” Corwin said.

USC student affairs staff who identify as Asian or Asian American, Corwin said, have also been under a great deal of stress as they help students deal with xenophobic and racist rhetoric and incidents.

USC enrolls more than 15,000 Asian American and Asian international students annually.

Administrators said the university is providing resources for its students.

In an email, Jonathan Wang, director of USC’s Asian Pacific American Student Services, said they are continuing to support Asian, Pacific Islander and Desi American-identified students "with community discussions, our embedded counselor from Counseling and Mental Health and connections to resources."

In statements emailed after the Tyndall settlement was announced, USC President Carol Folt apologized for the pain caused by Tyndall, and USC Board of Trustees chair Rick Caruso said the university fell short in protecting students. Neither made mention of Asian or Asian American students.

“I think we have a lot of work to do to make those students feel safe and respected,” said Professor Ariela Gross, whose research specialties include race and gender in the law. Folt and Caruso, she said, owe Asian and Asian American women students an apology.

She is hopeful. A USC taskforce on race, equity, diversity and inclusion is crafting recommendations for university administrators.


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