Letter from USC Interim President Wanda M. Austin regarding college admissions investigation

March 12, 2019

Dear USC Community,

I want to inform you of an ongoing wide-ranging criminal investigation involving universities nationwide, including USC.  The government has made a public announcement and disseminated the charging documents.  The federal government has alleged that USC is a victim in a scheme perpetrated against the university by a long-time Athletics Department employee, one current coach and three former coaching staff, who were allegedly involved in a college admissions scheme and have been charged by the government on multiple charges.

At this time, we have no reason to believe that Admissions employees or senior administrators were aware of the scheme or took part in any wrongdoing—and we believe the government concurs in that assessment.  The government has repeatedly informed us that it views USC as a victim and that these employees purposefully deceived USC.

We have planned significant remedial efforts.  We will take all appropriate employment actions.  We will review admissions decisions.  We are identifying all funds received that may be connected to the government’s allegations.  And we will be implementing significant process and training enhancements to prevent anything like this from ever happening again.

It is immensely disappointing that individuals would abuse their position at the university in this way.

As our work on culture and values continues, we must take the appropriate action when we become aware of behavior that is contrary to our values.  I appreciate the efforts of the staff who diligently responded to the government’s investigation, and for the broad commitment of our community to address problems as we learn of them.

We will continue to cooperate fully with all law enforcement and regulatory investigations.

Any media calls can be referred to the USC Media Line 213-740-2215.

Dr. Wanda M. Austin