Demand USC remove Erica Muhl as Dean of the Roski School of Art and Design

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To our Supporters: Thanks and Upcoming News

To our supporters, At over 730 signatures and counting, your response has overwhelmed us. We are extremely grateful to you for joining us in making USC leadership accountable and demanding Erica Muhl’s resignation. We have also been fortunate to join Free Cooper Union ( in solidarity to the call for greater transparency and equitability in the increasingly corporatized system of higher education. In the days since the petition went live, the university responded to our letter. The email, which we will reproduce in full in upcoming communications, made disturbingly clear to what degree of irresponsibility the administration is willing to support Dean Muhl’s egregious mishandling of the Roski School of Art and Design graduate programs since the beginning of her tenure in 2013. This complete lack of accountability by USC leadership also made it clear how quickly and injuriously a program of such renown can fall into disgrace when such top-down restructuring is implemented, while the critical value of faculty and students’ input and voices are ignored. Our legitimate concerns for the restitution of the MFA program’s quality and relevant contribution to the cultural community have fallen on strategically deaf ears. Provost Michael Quick, writing on behalf of President Max Nikias, continues to delegitimize our experience by minimizing the public representation of our colleagues’ withdrawal. Provost Quick first conceals the severity of the withdrawn class of 2016’s contract breach ( “Those students’ situation has been portrayed inaccurately. Dean Muhl did not break curricular and funding promises to them. She has explained that the 2014 offer letters sent to them by the school were honored in every respect, without exception. She also made the commitment that, even if the students refused to follow university policy about teaching assistantships, the school would make sure they would feel no financial impact.” Furthermore, it is baffling that this administration ignores the fact Erica Muhl has failed to recruit students to her new studio arts MFA program. We ask: how many times must an experience be recounted before it is acknowledged by those responsible for its destructive repercussions? What kind of educational institution would continuously belittle its students in favor of their own appointed administrator? This community’s call to action is an accurate, responsible and legitimate response to the Roski administration’s corruption and irresponsibility. Erica Muhl’s removal will be the start of USC’s effort to abide by their own educational mission and best practices to resolve the Roski school’s glaring crises. The Roski School of Art and Design will only continue to function as a respected institution of arts higher education with Erica Muhl’s resignation as its dean. You’ve helped us to show USC that the international art community is watching. We encourage you to share the petition with your network and loved ones once more before we deliver it to USC’s leadership later this week. Respectfully yours, The USC Roski MFA graduating class of 2015 Jacinto Astiazarán Lena Daly Orr Herz Veli-Matti Hoikka Sofía Londoño Alli Miller Alana Riley Fleurette West Media Coverage:

USC MFA Class of 2015
7 years ago