A year after the president of the University of Southern California resigned over a campus sex abuse scandal, CL Max Nikias has still received nearly three times his base salary.
Nikias resigned in 2018 after allegations of sexual assault surfaced against a longtime gynecologist on campus, who was later charged with 35 counts of sexual assault and assault against female students. That year, Nikias won $ 7.7 million – a payment that made him the highest-paid university president in the country, according to the Higher Education Chronicle.
The following year, according to recently released tax returns from the university, Nikias received an additional $ 5.2 million in compensation – more than any other university employee. His base salary was $ 1.4 million. He also received $ 1.5 million in “bonuses and incentives,” plus an additional $ 1.9 million in “other reportable allowances,” including accommodation costs for his use of the presidential residence. from the university until April 2019. The remainder of the compensation came largely from a pension plan and other deferred compensation.
In contrast, the university reported that its current president, Carol Folt, made just $ 1.3 million.
The tax return also showed Nikias had a $ 3 million home loan from the university, of which he still owed $ 2.5 million. Nikias bought a Manhattan Beach home from sports media personality Colin Cowherd for $ 4.1 million in fall 2018, according to the Los Angeles Times.
USC officials declined to speak with USA TODAY. A statement from the USC board said the group voted to honor Nikias’ contract and agreed to “certain other arrangements to speed up his departure before the end of his three-year tenure,” which was on the rise. in 2019.
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“The compensation reflects the money owed to him for salary, retirement and other benefits, some of which can be traced back to the employment contract he entered into when he became president in 2010,” the statement said. Nikias was reappointed in 2016 but resigned in 2018 before the end of his term.
Nikias, who is still a faculty member at the university, was not directly involved in the charges against gynecologist George Tyndall. Allegations surfaced in 2018 against the former gynecologist, who surrendered his license in 2019 and is awaiting trial on the criminal charges.
Shortly after the allegations were made public, the students called for Nikias’ resignation, saying USC had not responded to misconduct complaints involving Tyndall. A few days later, Nikias resigned.
In 2020, the US Department of Education announced that it had completed an investigation into the university, finding that USC had failed to protect Tyndall’s students.
The department also asked the university to review its processes for following Title IX – the federal law that prohibits gender discrimination in education – in addition to conducting a formal review of current and former employees and allowing for oversight. government for three years.
In March, USC agreed to a $ 852 million settlement with more than 700 women who accused Tyndall of sexual abuse.
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At the time of his resignation, Nikias had been criticized for a series of scandals, including one involving the then dean of the medical school, Carmen Puliafito.
Puliafito, who was filmed smoking methamphetamine, resigned his post as dean in 2016. He remained a professor until the university fired him in 2017 after a Los Angeles Times article reported. documented his illicit behavior, including drug-fueled parties in hotel rooms.
The university has also been implicated in the nationwide college admissions scandal known as the Varsity Blues, in which wealthy parents were accused of paying bribes or rigging college and athletic degrees. to help secure places for their children in very selective colleges. Several USC coaches have since pleaded guilty to their involvement in the scandal, which ran from 2011 to 2018.
Contribution: Steve Berkowitz and Erin Richards, USA TODAY