Sitting along Trousdale for an hour with posters in hand and duct tape covering their mouths, students sent a strong message to USC about its "unsatisfactory" responses to multiple sexual misconduct allegations against former Engemann Health Center physicians George Tyndall and Dennis Kelly.
They gathered in front of Bovard Auditorium Thursday and later joined a "sit-in" session hosted by Trojan Advocates for Political Progress (TAPP) to rally against USC's effort to lobby against a bill that aids the survivors.
AB-1510, a bill that "extend[s] the statute of limitations for actions brought against private universities" received support from organizations like Consumer Watchdog and the California Nurses Association. However, USC is opposing the bill with the help of lobbying firm Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross and Leoni LLP, whom they hired in early March.
Members from TAPP wanted to hold the school accountable and show support for survivors through the demonstrations. Alec Vandenberg, president of TAPP, said, "this is about justice for all survivors, no matter when you were abused. And this is making sure that USC does not silence the voices of those survivors."
Vandenberg said he believes the only thing more horrifying than students being abused by trusted campus physicians is the administration's passive response.
He also added, "The university is held fully liable for all the crimes and the indifference and neglect that they've shown toward survivors."
Michaela Murphy, director of outreach for TAPP, said that the goal of the sit-in and protest was to make sure that every party, including USC, Tyndall and Kelly, is held fully liable and that every single survivor gets compensation and justice.
"All this opposition [against AB 1510] does is further prove that USC has truly no regard for the well-being of students on this campus, but especially survivors of assaults," Murphy said.
Shany Ebadi, one of the event organizers, said the school betrayed student trust.
"Over the past year or so, our demands for just basic health and safety on this campus have been ignored, survivors have been ignored," she said.
Student protestors demanded the school cut its ties with the lobbying firm and invest the resources back into campus.
During the demonstration, TAPP invited student survivors to share their stories and talked about the implication of AB-1510 to "let them know that students care and students stand for them," according to Vandenberg.
"Even though it erupted months ago, we still remember them today and we still demand justice," Vandenberg said.
The event was followed by a "call to action," where organizers encouraged students to call the capitol, email or tweet at the school.
“It’s been really incredible watching this movement grow over time. It started with angry posts on Facebook and then became letters to the editor. Now it’s fully actionable events,” Murphy said.