Six students accuse USC faculty of sexual misconduct via anonymous Google form

The #MeToo movement travels from Hollywood to USC and universities across the U.S.

The #MeToo movement is now shifting perspectives from Hollywood to a place even closer to home: USC and many other universities across America.

Karen L. Kelsky, Ph.D., a former professor, department head, and university advisor, created an anonymous Google form titled "Sexual Harassment in the Academy: A Crowdsource Survey" to uncover the truth of sexual harassment at the university level. Since its inception just last month, the form has over 2000 responses. Of these, six allegations relate to USC.

The claims come from an undergrad, a pair of graduate students, one PhD and one Postdoc student, and even an assistant/associate. The allegations are made against tenured faculty and professors, assistants, and colleagues. They detail events in which faculty slept with students and advisors, sent personal, inappropriate emails, and asked intimate questions about the students' sex lives.

A PhD students recounts a professor who, known for sleeping with his students, invited her "back to his crib" and to "smoke weed" with him. An assistant details how there was systematic disrespect of women in her department, leading her to have to warn her PhD students about the conduct her male colleagues engage in. Another student explains how a professor had sexual relations with his advisee and "in turn heaped free stuff and praise on her."

Though the misconduct described is shocking, it is also claimed by the anonymous students that USC did practically nothing about these allegations. One student described one of the abusers as a "huge moneymaker for the university", while another said that this particular professor is a "big name" and "a star in humanities".

Although there is no way to know whether these claims are true or not, we are in a shifting social dynamic in which allegations of these types are heard rather than cast aside. Given the timing of these accusations, they should not be taken lightly, especially at such a distinguished university as USC.

If you or someone you know has experienced any type of sexual misconduct by faculty at USC, contact the Title IX office and report it.

University of Southern California