Los Angeles (AFP) – Engulfed in scandal over sexual abuse and admissions fraud, the University of Southern California has for the first time named a woman to take the lead the prestigious school.
Carol Folt was named to take over as president from C.L. Max Nikias, who resigned last year following revelations that USC — which counts such luminaries as George Lucas, Neil Armstrong and John Wayne among its alumni — failed to act on allegations of abuse in its medical center.
In a statement Wednesday, Folt said she was “aware that our community is deeply troubled by a number of immediate challenges.”
“I assure you that we will meet these challenges together, directly, decisively and with honesty and candor,” the former University of North Carolina chancellor said.
“This is a moment of responsibility and opportunity, and we will seize them both.”
Folt’s appointment comes days after USC was implicated in an explosive admissions fraud scandal involving universities across the United States.
Over 30 parents, including “Desperate Housewives” actress Felicity Huffman and “Full House” star Lori Loughlin, were arrested for allegedly paying bribes to secure admission for their children.
USC last week fired its associate sports director and a water polo coach who were caught up in the firestorm, and is reviewing the admission status of the students concerned.
Meanwhile, the school is the subject of multiple lawsuits over a sexual abuse scandal that erupted last year following an investigation in The Los Angeles Times.
The university is accused of ignoring accusations against gynecologist George Tyndall, ranging from rape to inappropriate touching during medical examinations during his 30-year career.