A former USC student recently filed a lawsuit accusing Choong Whan Park, a tenured professor at the Marshall School of Business, of sexual assault spanning a troubling three-year period. Park, who retired at the end of the spring semester in 2021, faces serious allegations that have raised questions about the university’s awareness and response.
Park, hired by the university in 1997 as a professor of marketing, ascended to the role of director of the Global Branding Center in 2001. Widely known as CW Park, the professor’s academic journey is scrutinized as the lawsuit unfolds.
Discrimination Claims Against USC
The C.W. Park USC lawsuit also targets USC as a defendant, accusing the university of discrimination. According to the claims, USC was allegedly aware of Park’s targeted harassment against female Korean student assistants. USC’s response, filed on June 16, vehemently denies these allegations, asserting no discriminatory or retaliatory motives.
USC and the Marshall School of Business have chosen a cautious approach in response to the lawsuit. Both declined detailed comments, citing the confidential nature of personnel matters and the ongoing legal status of the case.
The Plaintiff’s Experience
Introduction to Yi Youn Kim
The plaintiff, Yi Youn Kim, a Korean-American woman, was employed as Park’s student assistant from August 2016 to April 2019. Kim’s experiences form the crux of the lawsuit, painting a disturbing picture of alleged nonconsensual advances and harassment.
Kim’s account details a series of troubling incidents, starting in the spring of 2017 when C.W. Park USC Lawsuit allegedly made nonconsensual sexual advances, creating a hostile work environment for Kim. The lawsuit documents four additional instances of sexual assault and harassment throughout Kim’s employment.
The lawsuit introduces cultural complexities, asserting that C.W. Park USC Lawsuit, as an older Korean man, exploited the cultural difficulties Kim would face in resisting, protesting, or reporting his alleged misconduct. This adds a layer of complexity to the case.
Internal Investigation and Additional Accusations
USC’s Internal Investigation
Kim’s formal complaint triggered an internal investigation by USC. Shockingly, the C.W. Park USC lawsuit claims that at least three other young women of Korean descent made similar allegations during this internal inquiry. The details of this investigation remain undisclosed, raising questions about transparency.
The lawsuit introduces three additional women, identified as Victim 1, Victim 2, and Victim 3, who share similar experiences of non-consensual physical contact, explicit comments, and harassment dating back to 2011. The circumstances of their employment under Park remain shrouded in mystery.
Ruth Joya’s Role and Park’s Retirement
Allegations Against Ruth Joya
The lawsuit implicates Ruth Joya, a Marshall administrative employee, alleging that she connected Kim with Park without proper consent. Joya’s actions in intentionally selecting Kim based on her proficiency in Korean add complexity to the narrative.
Despite the serious allegations and legal proceedings, Park’s retirement was not publicly announced. The reasons for his departure remain undisclosed, leaving room for speculation and concern.
Legal Action and Cultural Concerns
Discrimination Complaint and Legal Response
In December 2020, Kim filed a discrimination complaint against USC. USC’s response and subsequent legal actions add a legal dimension to the unfolding narrative.
Cultural Concerns at Marshall
The C.W. Park USC lawsuit resonates with previous concerns about the culture at the Marshall School of Business. In a statement two years ago, Associate Professor Carol Wise characterized the environment as one endorsing a “tits-and-ass culture,” shedding light on the broader cultural issues within the academic institution.
A Call for Cultural Change
Legal Representative’s Perspective
Jane Reilley, Kim’s legal representative, draws parallels with past cases, emphasizing the need for a cultural shift within the university. As one of the attorneys in the case against former USC student health doctor George Tyndall, Reilley hopes this lawsuit will prevent similar experiences for others.
The unfolding lawsuit raises important questions about institutional awareness, response mechanisms, and the broader culture within academic institutions. As legal proceedings progress, the impact on USC’s reputation and the more general conversation around cultural change in educational settings remains to be seen.