Seven School of Cinematic Arts students have penned a petition asking USC to formally remove director Bryan Singer’s name from the institution on Monday. At the time of publication, the online petition had over 900 signatures, which included students and alumni.
The petition cites former accusations of sexual harassment, pedophilia and sexual assault against Singer, for whom the Division of Cinema and Media Studies is named.
“By continuing to associate Mr. Singer’s name with our University, USC is openly supporting a man who has been publicly accused of reprehensible sexual misconduct,” the petition said. “As USC students and alumni, we hold ourselves to a standard of respect, and the SCA administration’s actions are not representative of that standard.”
Emily Halaka and Adrian Vega-Albela Osorio, two co-writers of the petition, hoped to foster dialogue about sexual assault and harassment at SCA.
“We hope that the petition inspires more students to stand up for what we know is right, and inspires the SCA administration to make a change,” Halaka and Vega-Albela Osorio said in an email to the Daily Trojan. “As young filmmakers, we refuse to allow our futures to be permeated by power abuse. We refuse to sit quietly as harassment and assault continues around us.”
Singer has faced multiple lawsuits throughout his filmmaking career, including one in 1997 concerning child nudity on a film set, according to Entertainment Weekly. In 2014, Singer also faced allegations of sexually abusing a minor, according to court documents obtained by The Wrap.
However, lawsuits against Singer have mostly been dismissed before an official trial.
“We have known about the allegations against Singer for some time, as have many students — 20-plus years of media coverage on the multiple allegations against Singer have made his history a highly public topic,” Halaka and Vega-Albela Osorio wrote. “We hope that we, the student body of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, can continue to be an example for future generations entering the film industry, making changes little by little.”
In a statement emailed to the Daily Trojan, SCA spokesperson Kristin Borella responded to the petition.
“We are aware of the Change.org petition and appreciate the concerns of our students and alumni,” Borella said. “We want to assure them that we are taking this matter very seriously and are monitoring the situation.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: This post has been updated to reflect SCA’s statement on the student petition.