President C. L. Max Nikias delivered his annual State of the University address on Wednesday at Town and Gown.
Nikias mainly focused on issues of diversity, according to USC News, in the wake of recent events happening at USC as well as across the country.
“We know that when members of our Trojan Family stand up and speak out, we must lend our ears and listen,” Nikias said, according to USC News. “Because when we listen to each other, we learn from each other, and we understand each other in a deeper and more meaningful way.”
Nikias commended the creation of the Provost’s Diversity Task Force, and encouraged other faculties members to help create a public discourse.
“We’re developing a deeper dialogue with each of our schools, asking you to offer your ideas and your input to increase faculty diversity,” Nikias said.
But Nikias also stressed how important it was to discuss these issues at a national level rather than restrict discussions of diversity to college campuses.
“Despite all the talk about diversity in American higher education, nobody talks at the national level about the real crisis we face as a nation,” Nikias said.
Nikias specifically focused on the youth and how, despite current USC programs such as the Neighborhood Academic Initiative, public schools and K-12 education needed to do a better job preparing their students for college.
“If we are going to create more diversity in American higher education among our student body, our Ph.D. students, our postdoctoral scholars and our faculty, eventually we must pay attention to the pipeline,” Nikias said. “If we don’t do that, we have no chance.”