A group of students and their supporters converge in front of Engemann Student Health Center at University of Southern California (USC) demanding that former USC gynecologist George Tyndall, who has been accused of sexual misconduct, be brought to justice, in Los Angeles, the United States, June 9, 2018. (Xinhua/Zhao Hanrong)
by Li Yue, Gao Shan
LOS ANGELES, June 9 (Xinhua) -- "What do we want?" "Justice." "When do we want it?" "Now!"
Chanting slogans and carrying signs, a small group of students and their supporters converged in front of the Engemann Student Health Center at University of Southern California (USC) Saturday noon demanding that former USC gynecologist George Tyndall, who has been accused of sexual misconduct, be brought to justice.
The crowd chanted "U-S-C Transparency" while marching to the USC's Tommy Trojan statue, a life-size bronze statue of a Trojan warrior, after a short rally at the Health Center. Demonstrators held banners with large letters spelling the words "USC KNEW." They called for a transparent investigation, dismissal of anyone involved in covering up the case, and restitution for survivors.
More than 80 USC students or former students have reportedly contacted the university via a hotline or dedicated website to address concerns about the gynecologist.
"We hold this event for the community to show solidarity, for the many women who were abused or harassed and made uncomfortable, by not only George Tyndall, but the university that protected him," Ariel Sobel, one of the organizers of the Justice for Trojans March with other students, told Xinhua.
Amid accusations against the gynecologist, C.L. Max Nikias, president of USC, has announced his plan to step down on May 25.
"It is a beginning, it is not an end. I do have a lot of hope despite how difficult this time is," another student, Viva Symanski, said.
Tyndall worked as the only full-time gynecologist at the USC student clinic for 27 years. According to the Los Angeles Times' investigation,complaints against his repeated misconduct toward his young female patients started in the early 1990s, including improperly photographing students' genitals, touching women inappropriately during pelvic exams and making sexually suggestive remarks about their bodies.
According to the Los Angeles Times, some colleagues of Tyndall feared that the gynecologist was targeting the university's growing population of Chinese students. Those Chinese students often had a limited knowledge of the English language and American medical norms.
"I know Chinese culture makes it very difficult to talk about sexual abuse, sexuality in general," Sobel said. "We hold this event in a visible, meaningful and authoritative way to help out many of the women who are dealing with a mass trauma."
"We no longer have to bear in secret the shame of what was done to us. Let us join now the millions of women across the world and say 'Time is up'," Symanski said during the rally.
The march also shed light on some resources that students can refer to, including helping with protecting the legal rights of students from all countries and regions, and ways of dealing with sexual assault and trauma.
The famed American attorney Gloria Allred, who has spent almost her entire career fighting sexual misconduct, also showed up to support the campaign. Allred is known in the United States for taking on high-profile and often controversial cases, particularly those involving the protection of women's rights.
After the recent lawsuit filed against Tyndall and USC on behalf of one of the students, Allred said more and more USC and former USC students have joined them.
"We will be amending our lawsuit either on Monday or Tuesday, and we are going to be adding more than 20 young women who are going to have the courage to stand up and say USC has to be accountable," she said.
The 76-year-old lawyer empowers more women to speak up. "We have students of all races, not just in the United States. We are looking for justice for all of them," she said. "You do not have to be a citizen of this country in order to have rights."
Chinese students should not be intimidated because of the language and cultural barriers. "Reach out to us or reach out to other attorneys who want to help. And we will assist, we will have translators, we will do everything we can to support you, to assist you, to protect you, and to help you," she said.
The USC has been sued by some former students over the scandal in separate lawsuits.
The USC is a leading private research university located in Los Angeles in the U.S. state of California. A total of 45,800 students were enrolled in the 2017-2018 academic year, including around 5,80 from Chinese mainland.
USC Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael Quick said last month that there was no evidence that any one group of students was affected more than others when he was asked about the gynecologist's targeting of Chinese and other international students.
The Consulate General of China in Los Angeles expressed its concern over the scandal on May 16, requesting the university to take serious action to investigate the issue and protect Chinese students from illegal acts.
The Chinese Students and Scholars Association, a major Chinese student organization at USC, also issued a statement last month, calling on Chinese students to bravely speak up against any violations of their rights.