USC Provost, senior VP of legal affairs and professionalism resign

Provost Michael Quick and Senior Vice President of Legal Affairs Carol Mauch Amir will step down June 30. (Photo from USC, Photo from Twitter)

Provost Michael Quick and Senior Vice President for Legal Affairs and Professionalism Carol Mauch Amir will step down from their respective positions, Interim President Wanda Austin announced Tuesday in a letter to the USC community. Quick and Mauch Amir will officially retire June 30.

“I am personally grateful to Michael and Carol for working closely with me as we prepare for our new president’s arrival this summer,” Austin wrote in the letter. “They have shown tremendous dedication to our university and its community and have led with integrity and compassion.”

Quick and Mauch Amir’s departure comes two weeks after the University announced that former University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt would be USC’s next president. Folt will begin working at the University July 1.

“President-elect [Carol] Folt will be a great leader and should have the opportunity to work with a provost of her choosing,” Quick wrote in a statement to the Daily Trojan. “I have been honored to work with faculty, staff, students and alumni to continue USC’s ascent. I look forward to continuing to work with everyone.”

Quick, who also serves as senior vice president of academic affairs, will resume his position as a professor of biological sciences at the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

In the next few weeks, Austin and Folt will name an interim provost and elect a search committee chair to find successors for both vacant positions, Austin wrote. The search committee, which will include faculty members across University departments, will work alongside Folt and Austin.

“Our search for both positions will be national in scope and exhaustive in research,” Austin wrote. “We will keep you posted on our progress, as appropriate.”

Ariela Gross, a member of the Concerned Faculty of USC, said she hopes these administrative changes will create a culture of transparency and accountability at the University. She said having President-elect Folt hire a new team of administrators is a step in the right direction.

“We will all be able to build trust and increase morale because there will be a sense that people who may have been closely involved in some of the unfortunate incidents of the past will be moving aside and new leadership will be coming in,” said Gross, a law and history professor. “That’s really important for this community to heal and move forward.”

In looking for a new provost, Gross said the University should have an inclusive process and create a profile of what characteristics the USC community would like them to possess, such as experience working in a large institution facing similar issues and scandals. She said the new head of the legal counsel must better balance student and faculty needs with keeping the University out of lawsuits.

“The kind of arrangements that were made for someone like George Tyndall or Carmen Puliafito … suggests to me the kind of misplaced concern about the possibility that a wrongdoer might sue the University as opposed to a very real concern for the victims of a wrongdoer,” Gross said.

Announcement of these resignations come on the heels of USC’s involvement in the college admissions bribery scheme, an increase in the number of plaintiffs named in the sexual assault case against former campus gynecologist George Tyndall and the growing sexual harassment lawsuit against former campus men’s health doctor Dennis Kelly.

“We have had recent challenges but we will rise to the occasion and emerge stronger for having faced them,” Quick wrote. “This is a transformative university and the best place to be. Let’s make Fight On more than a slogan, let’s make it a call to action.”

Quick also handled complaints regarding former Keck School of Medicine Dean Carmen Puliafito who the Los Angeles Times revealed partied with students and used methamphetamines while seeing patients in 2017.

After news broke in May of Tyndall’s alleged abuse of former and current USC students, Quick sent a memo to the USC community citing that the event filled him with “regret, shame and frustration.”

Austin wrote that during his tenure as provost, Quick has focused on advancing the international profile of the University by recruiting renowned faculty and encouraging University efforts in social justice, the letter read.

“In returning to the faculty, Michael will continue to share his wisdom and wit with colleagues and students,” Austin wrote.

In addition to announcing Quick’s resignation from provost, Austin’s letter revealed that Mauch Amir would also be stepping down from her position.

Since she began working at USC 20 years ago, Mauch Amir has led several health and legal initiatives. This year, she oversaw the establishment of the Office of Professionalism and Ethics and helped created the President’s Culture Commission and the Working Group on Culture. She has also worked with the audit and compliance committee within the Board of Trustees to expand reporting and monitoring practices.

In a statement to the Daily Trojan, Mauch Amir said she looks forward to her time off and is proud of the work she did in her tenure at USC.

“With strong leadership in the Offices of Professionalism and Ethics, General Counsel, Ethics and Compliance and Internal Audit, I feel confident I am leaving the University in good stead as we prepare for the transition to the next presidency,” Mauch Amir wrote.