USC welcomed back Reggie Bush and canceled Rufus von KleinSmid in two days. Now that’s a week!
The decisions illustrated the good-and-bad of how quickly things can get done at private universities.
USC knew it could welcome Bush back on June 10, 2020 and went through a pretty streamlined process to reinstate him (and O.J. Mayo).
Conversely, the von Kleinsmid decision was a bit knee jerk. For years, USC students and faculty wanted his name off “VKC.” But nothing happened until this week.
One long-time USC observer believed Rick Caruso, chairperson of the Board of Trustees, played a key role.
- Meanwhile, USC professor Ariela Gross said via twitter, “Notice the difference between USC and a university with faculty governance. At other unis, faculty historian-led committees did the research, told the stories – often with students playing big role, educated community & articulated standards for renaming buildings. Not here.
“Obviously VKC has been an embarrassment for a long time. But where’s the public education a university should be built on? Where are the historians? USC hasn’t learned a thing about shared governance.”
- Von KleinSmid was revered by some students who went to USC during his 25-year reign. Some female students felt honored when he tipped his homburg at them as he walked across the campus. The first thing journalism professors taught freshmen was how to spell his name (small V, capitalize the K and S).
- He also brought in big donors like Edward Doheny, who donated $1.1 million for Doheny Library.
- On the other hand, he published a paper in 1913 that “called for states to preserve their society through segregation of inferior groups and forced sterilization.” He also co-founded the Human Betterment Foundation, a Pasadena think tank that pushed eugenics and sterilization.
He also was described as “openly hostile” to Japanese-American students after World War II and reportedly refused to send their requested transcripts to colleges when they returned from internment camps in 1945. There are other charges too numerous to list.
It’s a feather in Folt’s cap because she can say she did what James Zumberge, Steven Sample and Max Nikias failed to do.
- USC has prided itself on the number of times it made the cover of Sports Illustrated, dating back to shot-putter Parry O’Brien in 1955. But it missed a cover in 1960 when the magazine planned a story on USC football that would be written by legendary sports writer Jim Murray.
Unfortunately, an athletic dept. secretary forgot to deliver a message from the magazine to the proper supervisor. By the time the secretary remembered, the magazine made other plans for the cover.
- Former USC player and assistant coach Mike Sanford has been named football coach at Faith Lutheran High School in Las Vegas. Sanford was the head coach at UNLV from 2005-09.
- USC diver Henry Fusaro and swimmer Louise Hansson are recipients of the Pac-12 Tom Hansen Conference medal, which is “based on the exhibition of the greatest combination of performance and achievement in scholarship, athletics and leadership.”
- Back in the old days, college football fans used to love to use props to express themselves. When USC QB Jim Contratto had a key fumble in the 1955 Rose Bowl (it rained the whole game), the next day someone sent a football with a suitcase handle attached to it.
- In 1966, after USC reserve tailback Jim Lawrence gained 89 yards and scored a TD vs. Cal in his first start, someone left a cane on the doorstep of his fraternity.
A note was left with the cane that had the name of UCLA defensive back Mark Gustafson but Gustafson did not send it.
“I thought it was a pretty good joke,” Lawrence said. “I don’t think Gustafson really sent it. Football players don’t do things like that. Besides, he’s got Stanford to worry about (this week), not us.”
Said Gustafson: “It would be awful stupid for a football player to send something like that. It’s ridiculous. If it was reverse, I wouldn’t believe a USC player did it. I’m convinced it was sent by a prankster.”