In an email sent to the USC community on Tuesday, the university announced various governance reforms being made to the Board of Trustees that are expected to take effect within the coming months.
“As you know well, USC has grown dramatically over the past few decades. That growth includes a larger student body, more faculty, a fast-growing staff, and operating one of the region’s largest medical enterprises in Keck Medicine of USC,” BoT chair Rick Caruso wrote in the statement. “However, the Board of Trustees recognized that it has been organized in much the same way as it was thirty years ago. Just as USC has changed, so too must our Board. And, that is what we have done.”
A group referred to as "Special Committee on Governance Reform” in the email conducted a 14-month examination that included the analysis of the “best practices at peer institutions” and a series of conversations with USC students, staff and alumni. The committee made specific recommendations to the university in regard to what needed to be changed on the Board of Trustees.
The changes mentioned in the statement include a reduction in overall membership totals from roughly 60 to 35, a decrease in the number of specialized committees from eleven to eight and heightened eligibility requirements for board members as well as “life” and “honorary” trustees. Term and age limits for current and future trustees are now expected to be implemented along with the new reforms, according to the email.
In addition, the statement mentioned the university’s newfound commitment to a future board composition that “reflects the diversity of the USC community”. Transparency within the Board of Trustees is also being increased, as committee assignments will now be published on USC’s website, readily accessible to the public. Last year, Annenberg Media’s data analysis reveals the majority of the board remains overwhelmingly white and male.
As a result of the changes listed in the statement, numerous trustees are expected to be “transitioned off the board” in the coming years. Caruso thanked these individuals for their service to the university in the statement.
“Thank you to all Trustees...especially those who will be transitioning off the board over the next few years for always placing USC’s long-term health and success first,” said Caruso “We are forever grateful for their invaluable service and commitment to the Trojan Family.”
Annenberg Media reached out to Chairman Caruso was for comment, but he did not respond in time for publication.