LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - Students and faculty at the University of Southern California have come together in protests over recent days, mainly in response to the poor handling of sexual assault investigations - not only into Sigma Nu fraternity - but into the university as a whole.
They are seeking immediate action in protecting students against sexual assault.
The protests have been going on for nearly a month now, with protestors leaving signs of support for victims all over the fraternity's walls.
Faculty has finally joined in, as it seems that they too have had enough of the same "lip service" from the school, as one professor put it.
The protestors put together a list of 13 demands, among them:
- They want students to have full access to rape kits on campus. As it stands now, they have to drive to Santa Monica to get them.
- They want the Sigma Nu Fraternity chapter on their campus dissolved. The fraternity is the center of the sexual assault scandal that began in October. (Some are calling for the complete removal of Greek life from campus.)
- Send all students an alert of every report of sexual assault, as soon as it's reported - with no delay.
- They want documents from the George Tyndall investigation to be released. Tyndall, former USC student health center gynecologist, has been accused of hundreds of counts of sexual abuse, amongst other horrific, and sometimes racist, things.
Protestors claim that since the scandal began, the school has made empty promises to please the masses.
Retroactive to September 27, allegations of sexual assault have stemmed from the Sigma Nu fraternity chapter.
On October 22, the Sigma Nu National Fraternity announced that the main suspect in the allegations, Ryan Schiffilea, was no longer a member of their fraternity. The house was also put on interim suspension.
Multiple allegations of drug-fueled sexual assault incidents have been linked back to Sigma Nu, including an instance which involved drugs being placed into drinks at a party.
Nearly a week later, USC issued a statement where they admitted to a troubling delay in response to the allegations.
The letter was sent to staff and students from USC President Carol Folt, where she stated that more than one report had been filed in regards to the September incident. "We now know that there was a troubling delay in acting on this information. As president, I came to USC with the promise to confront what is wrong and lead the effort to fix what is broken. This is too important to not get right," she remarked in the letter.
On November 3, a USC faculty member, Professor Ariela Gross, who has been teaching for over 25 years, wrote a scathing piece for the LA Times, where she addresses the history of cover-ups that have taken place at the university. In her piece, Gross denounces the leadership of the university, claiming they have continued to enable the predatory behavior on campus.
Gross said that despite the changing of power from one administration to the other, nothing has changed as far as the school's patterns of secrecy and denial.
The University of Southern California has been plagued with scandal after scandal over recent years, most recently the subject of federal charges of bribery and corruption against former-dean Marilynn Flynn and her involvement with former L.A. City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas.
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