When you think of an institution of higher learning such as a university, there are many thing that are likely to come to your mind. One of them is that it will be a safe haven for students who want to pursue their dream courses. Although this is typically the case for most universities, such institutions are not immune to deep seated issues. A good example is the C.W Park USC lawsuit.
It is imperative to note that this lawsuit shook the academic community at large as it involved a renowned professor at the University of Southern California (USC).Unlike other cases, this one sparked a heated debate among people as involved a case of discrimination and sexual harassment by a university professor. In this article, we shall take a closer look at C.W Park, the history of USC, lawsuit charges, people involved in the case and so much more. Continue reading in order to know the finer details of this lawsuit.
Background of C.W Park and USC
For you to understand the gravity of this lawsuit, there is a need for you to comprehend the background of the entities involved first. To start with, C.W Park is one of the most famous professor in the field of marketing.
Additionally, he is a professor of Korean descent. Since he has more than 20 years of experience, he has been played an instrumental role in the USC faulty as he has made immense contribution when it comes to research and academic communities of this university. Due to his unending contributions to the university, USC has been earned a name in the academic arena. In fact, it has been regarded as a beacon of higher learning by many.
What is the C.W Lawsuit all about?
It is imperative to note that the lawsuit revolves around a student who alleges that she was sexually harassed by Professor C.W. Park for several years. To put this into context, the student involved here is known as Christina Woo Park. She first met the professor in 1997 when she was pursuing his doctorate degree at the University of Illinois Urban-Champaign.
Since then, he became her dissertation advisor and even promised her to leave his wife and marry her instead. Unfortunately, this non-consensual affair continued for several years post Christina’s graduation. To make matters worse, it continued even after Christina Woo Park joined University of Southern California faculty in 2008.
Professor Park used to persuade her to relocate to Los Angeles so that she can be close to him and every now and then, used to abuse her sexually. In fact, the student said that Professor Park used to issue threats regarding both her academic and professional future. As a result, she ended up complying with the non-consensual affair.
What are the disturbing allegations against Professor C.W.Park?
It is important to note that there are several charges levied against Professor Park in the C.W.Park lawsuit, following the misconduct witnessed for more than 20 years. Some of these allegations include:
Being harassed for more than 20 years: In her lawsuit, Christina asserts that Professor C.W.Park used to harass her for more than 20 years. This was attributed to the fact that he used to make unwanted advances to her every now and then. Also, he used to request her for sex and send explicit photos and messages in a bid to lure her. Consequently, he ended up creating a hostile environment for her.
Continued sexual assault: Christina alleges that professor Park used to assault her sexually severally using violence, drugs/alcohol, and even threats into having sex with her. At some point, he threatened that he could injure or even impregnate her.
Discrimination: Besides sexual harassment and assault, the lawsuit claims that professor C.W.Park discriminated Christina by treating her different from the rest. In fact, she alleges that the professor ended up denying her the much-needed opportunities to advance her career. He also used to undermine her for being an older and disabled woman of Asian American origin.
Retaliation for saying no to advances made: Since Christina used to reject the advances made by professor C.W.Park, he used to sabotage her career. The same applied when she reported him to senior authorities for action.
Professor C.W.Park denied all the charges levied against him. Instead, he said that his relationship was largely consensual and that she was the one that used to harass and threaten him from time to time.
What are the allegations levied against University of Southern California (USC)?
Apart from professor C.W.Park, the University of Southern California also faces certain allegations as a learning institution. Some of these allegations include:
Negligence when it comes to hiring and supervision: This lawsuit alleges that the University of Southern California failed to address all the red flags that surrounded professor C.W.Park. Additionally, the institution failed to act even after receiving several complaints about his unbecoming behavior.
Vicarious liability: Since the University of Southern California is the institution that had employed C.W.Park, Christina alleges that the university is equally liable for the conduct of the professor. After all, all those allegations are within his scope of employment.
Breach of Fiduciary duty: Christina asserts that her trust was betrayed by USC as the institution failed to act in good time and instead, ended up covering up all her reports of sexual abuse.
Breach of Contract: W.Park USC lawsuit asserts that the institution failed to adhere to its own policies and guidelines around non-discrimination, sexual misconduct, termination, tenure denial and so on.
It is important to note that the University of Southern California denied all the above-mentioned allegations during the case hearing.
Impacts of C.W.Park USC Lawsuit on University and Students
The C.W.Park USC lawsuit had its own implication on both university and students alike. Some of these implications include:
It tarnished the image of USC: Back in the days, USC had a good reputation. However, its reputation was tarnished following the above-mentioned lawsuit. This can be attribute to the fact that the news about the lawsuit spread like bushfire, causing a lot of speculation among many.
Increased demand for accountability and transparency: Following the concerns raised by students, the institution has to up their game when it comes to transparency and accountability.
A re-evaluation of USC’s policies and practices: This lawsuit prompted the university to review some of its policies and practices and make a few changes where necessary. By doing so, such incidences would be averted in the near future.
Broadened conversations about accountability and ethics within institutions of higher learning: This lawsuit became a conversation starter as it made stakeholders to rethink about how institutions of higher learning can become more ethical in their practices and also remain accountable for all their actions.
Like we mentioned at the introduction, institutions of higher learning should be places where students go to learn and acquire skills that will make them useful in the job market. While some universities have adhered to that course of action, some institutions such as USC was different as certain students such as Christina was not only sexually abused but also discriminated. Thankfully, the C.W.Park USC lawsuit has become an eye-opener for universities to underscore the importance of being accountable for their actions and foster ethical practices within the institutions of higher learning.