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USC NTSAF Call to Action Against Senior Admin’s Elimination of Topping Director Position

This petition had 2,377 supporters

The Norman Topping Student Aid Fund (NTSAF) is a community based scholarship, and is significantly different from other university scholarships. NTSAF is the only student initiated, student funded, primarily student administered scholarship in the nation. The purpose of the NTSAF is to “assist entering freshman, transfer and graduate students with high financial need, and who demonstrate an extraordinary level of community awareness, in their pursuit of higher education at USC.”  With this criteria in place, NTSAF scholars are selected and guided to successfully graduate and thrive at and beyond USC.

On January 2, 2018, 47 years after the origination of the Norman Topping Scholarship Fund, it was announced by the USC Office of the Vice Provost that a restructuring of the scholarship fund was to take place. This restructuring would effectively remove the director effective February 2018. As a student-initiated, student-funded and student-administered initiative, the scholarship’s governing body, the NTSAF Governing Board, was not consulted, nor made aware of  the decision to reorganize. Ultimately, failing to honor the agreement made in the 1970 NTSAF charter to obtain consent from the Fund’s Governing Board.  

The Program Director position is vital to the success and growth of the NTSAF. The program Director provides a safe, supportive environment for USC’s most versatile and driven students. As a first generation, USC alum herself, Christina Yokoyama’s leadership has brought an unifying, efficient and dynamic experience for Topping Scholars. Under her leadership, countless Topping Scholars have had the support to achieve university, local and national recognitions such as Order of Troy recipients, Fulbright Scholars, Renaissance Scholars, Teach for America corps members, Riordan Fellows, Schwarzman Scholars and USC’s most recent Rhodes Scholar, one of only nine Trojans to ever achieve this.  

As USC grows continues to accept students from diverse backgrounds, the correct leadership to support them must be in place. The Program Director ensures that the funds contributed across campus from each USC student are used to provide quality programing aligned to the mission of the NTSAF.  The Program Director spearheads the recruitment and acceptance of the prestigious Topping cohort. The Program Director serves as an advisor for NTSAF programing and for students’ individual academic success.

The elimination of the Program Director position would cause a disservice to the current Topping Scholars and provide diluted programing to additional students. If a growth in programing is recommended, then an increase in staffing would be necessary - not the elimination of the Program Director position.  

By signing this petition, you will be supporting the USC Norman Topping Family. The USC Topping Family is requesting the decision to remove the Program Director position be reversed and Christina Yokoyama reinstated as director.


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