USC's Undergraduate Student Government unanimously passed a resolution to endorse California Assembly Bill 1510, which allows some accusers of sexual assault to file charges after their statute of limitations has passed.
"[The resolution] has such direct implications for USC," said Matthew Crane, a former USG senator and one of the key voices in the passing of the resolution. "It's such targeted legislation in what this case was and what it meant to the student body."
Currently, California's statute of limitations for sexual misconduct is 10 years since the last attempted act. The bill would amend the civil code to allow cases which would have otherwise expired this year to be filed or continued through 2020. The bill would not apply to any cases which have already been finalized or settled.
USG was "inspired" to write such a resolution, according Crane, after being contacted by a victim from a case, who revealed the recent actions of USC to lobby this case as opposed to pay out the claims.
USG's support comes after more accusers of Tyndall and Kelly came forward in a press conference on Monday. At the beginning of March, USC hired lobbying firm Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leoni LLP, which has a long history of challenging proposed legislation which defends sexual assault victims.
Although AB 1510 doesn't directly refer to the plaintiffs in cases against former USC physicians George Tyndall and Dennis Kelly, this bill would allow more former patients to come forward even if the statute of limitations had passed.
From the Monday press conference, Brennan Heil, a USC student and alleged Tyndall victim, voiced her concerns over the university's new lobbying firm.
However, USC has argued that the bill is "a blatant attempt to interfere with the proposed federal settlement" of $215 million for the victims which it has already entered into in response to a federal class action lawsuit, according to legislative documents.
This USG resolution is different from most proposals this semester because in order to make the end-of-session deadline, the resolution was proposed and voted on in the same meeting, skipping a number of formalities. The resolution is being sent directly to the bill's sponsors, the Consumer Attorneys of California, who have shared with USG that they have every intention of distributing USG's work on the floor.
"The amended bill literally takes that choice away from these women," USC's lobbying firm said in a letter addressing bill 1510. "This is a step backwards for these women and not a step forward."
Members of USG said that this resolution provides a considerable amount of legal precedent background, it reiterates a lot of previous arguments, and it taps into a larger conversation of the kind of culture harbored here on campus.
"I think that it shows that the student body as a whole is intolerant of what's going on," said current USG Senator Haley Garland. "As far as USC and as far as what's happening on that side of things, I think that it's a statement of 'we don't support and we want change."
In the next few weeks, the USC administration is expected to reach a decision regarding the resolution. The student government is optimistic that the administrators will acknowledge its disapproval and intolerance of the university's actions.
Evan Falstrup, Sophia Hausch, Meagan Burke and Lauren Teruya contributed to this report.