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President’s Blog, July 2016

Paula CannonIn July we transition to a new Executive Board of the Academic Senate. So first, a big thank you to the outgoing Board and President Ginger Clark for all their work last year.

I appreciate that we make this transition in the down-time of summer – the softest of soft starts. As President, it’s my first week on the job. Here’s what I’d like to share with you.

USC’s LGBT community. The events in Orlando last month are still heavy on my mind. I’m an HIV/AIDS researcher and have many friends who were deeply affected by this assault on the LGBT community. I thought this would be a good time to let you know about some of the resources and initiatives we have at USC for LGBT students, faculty and staff, and their allies.

  • The LGBT Resource Center: A student support center for drop-in services including peer mentoring, emotional support, connection to resources on campus and throughout LA, educational programming, a study lounge, and University advocacy. The Director is Rev. Kelby Harrison.
  • LGBT-Thrive: A group of health care professionals, faculty, and students at USC’s Health Sciences Campus and our affiliated hospitals, focused both on impacting medical education and improving the health care we deliver to the LGBT community. The co-chairs are Lindsey Lawrence ( and Hudson Tibbetts (
  • Keck PRIDE: A newly-formed task force at Keck Medicine of USC to ensure a welcoming environment for LGBT patients, families, and employees. The contact is Lindsey Lawrence (

Black Lives Matter in Higher Learning. Professor Jody ArmourI’m proud to share a link to a thoughtful article written by one of our faculty, Jody Armour, from the Gould School of Law. Jody has been a committed member of the Academic Senate’s Campus Climate Committee and a long-time voice for diversity at USC. His article talks about his personal involvement and inspiration in this important movement across higher education.

Jody also specifically highlights some of what is happening at USC to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity, and reflects on the commitment shown by the Provost and the President. I urge you to read it.

Childcare update. You may have heard that there will be a transition from the company that runs USC’s childcare programs at both UPC and HSC. Although this was announced a few weeks ago, parents should be reassured that the current operator has to give 6 months notice before leaving. The university is interviewing potential new partners to take over these services, and remains committed to the expansion plans already in place for the UPC site. Parent representatives, the President of the Staff Assembly and I met with the Provost recently to make sure that the concerns of the parents were heard, and that they remain partners in this process.

Back to summer…….. No rest for the Senate’s Executive Board, which spends the summer populating the committees for next year and planning the upcoming Annual Planning Retreat, scheduled for August 16. Details of the agenda will be posted on the website once available.

Meanwhile, I wish you an enjoyable and productive summer – whether you refresh, start something new, or simply catch up on work and sleep.

Paula Cannon

PS – You can email me personally at or the Academic Senate more generally at