USC Trustees Slam Board Chair Caruso Over B-School Dean’s Dismissal

USC Interim President Wanda Austin and Board Chair Rick Caruso

‘YOU TOLD THE TRUSTEES IT WAS YOUR WAY OR THE HIGHWAY’

\”You also didn’t discuss the Cooley report in any depth with the board, and you didn’t tell the board how it came into existence or about its apparently ulterior purpose. And, adding insult to injury, you ousted me from the board meeting on a phony pretext after limiting me to speaking for literally one minute. You effectively prevented me–a trustee who has given his all and millions of dollars to USC–from speaking his mind on this very important issue. Your action was arbitrary, discriminatory and contrary to everything the University stands for–openness, free speech and the interchange of viewpoints; and it’s also rude and hurtful.

“Nor did you tell the trustees that the Cooley report did not recommend the removal of Jim, or that it concludes there was no pervasive culture of gender or racial bias at the Marshall School or by the school’s leadership team, including Jim. Don’t you think the trustees would have liked to know these facts? No materials, not the Cooley report nor anything else, were distributed to the trustees before or at the meeting. In effect, you deprived the trustees of the facts, orchestrated the presentation and effectively told them it was your way or the highway.”

Hsieh is demanding a “full and complete disclosure” of all the facts related to the removal of Dean Ellis, including the release to the board of the Cooley report and all other documents that led to Austin’s decision. “Once that is done, I request a board meeting with a full, uncensored, unstifled discussion, and then a new, fair vote on Jim Ellis’ status as dean,” he wrote.

A USC trustee for more than ten years who has given $85 million to the university was allowed one minute for his remarks in support of Dean Ellis

A DEMAND TO RESCIND PROVOST QUICK’S ‘GAG ORDER’ ON DEAN JIM ELLIS

In his letter, Hsieh also took issue with an earlier attempt in December by Provost Michael Quick to prevent Dean Ellis from communicating with Marshall’s faculty and staff about the decision. On Dec. 3rd, less than 12 hours after Ellis let his faculty know of the president’s decision, Quick reprimanded the dean for his email.

“With that communication,” wrote Provost Quick, “you misused the Office of the Dean to advance your own personal agenda, and you placed your personal interests over the interests of Marshall and the University. Moreover, your email put faculty in a position where they may feel pressured to show support for you because of your current role, and out of fear of retaliation. That showed an alarming lack of judgment. I realize you disagree with President Austin’s decision. However, you cannot abuse your role to try to change her mind. If you do that again, you will be subject to further action.”

Countered Hsieh: “I understand that the provost sought to muzzle Jim Ellis from speaking about his removal. This action is antithetical to everything for which USC stands. The provost should withdraw this threat and rescind the gag order so that Jim is free to speak without fear or reprisal.” Ellis has declined to speak with Poets&Quants or any other media outlet since the controversy broke.

“The board should bring Jim in and ask him questions directly, given the importance of this matter and the controversy it has created,” the trustee added. “Jim’s views should be heard and considered which, at this point, has not occurred because you have not permitted it to occur. It’s neither adequate nor appropriate that his view by conveyed by you and Wanda alone.”

RELATED COVERAGE:

USC OUSTS A HIGHLY POPULAR BUSINESS SCHOOL DEAN 

THE MBA LEADING THE FIGHT TO SAVE A BUSINESS SCHOOL DEAN

COMMENTARY: HOW USC’S PRESIDENT AND BOARD CHAIR FLUNKED THEIR FIRST LEADERSHIP TEST

DEAN’S DISMISSAL MAY COST USC UP TO $40 MILLION 

AT USC’S MARSHALL SCHOOL, AN ENRAGED FACULTY TRIES TO UNDERSTAND THEIR DEAN’S OUSTER

USC PRESIDENT DEFENDS DECISION TO OUST B-SCHOOL DEAN BUT OFFERS NO SUBSTANTIVE REASONS FOR THE DECISION

ALL 116 MEMBERS OF MARSHALL’S ADVISORY BOARD DEMAND OUSTER OF BOARD CHAIR CARUSO & THE PLACING ON LEAVE OF USC’S PRESIDENT, PROVOST & SENIOR VP

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