August 21, 2017

Initial assessment (Student Misconduct)

A. Receipt and outreach

After receiving a report of prohibited conduct, the Title IX Office contacts the Reporting Party to explain rights under this policy and reporting options on and off campus; to invite the Reporting Party to an in person meeting; and to provide resources and appropriate referrals. This is called outreach and is most commonly done via the student’s usc.edu email account.

Title IX also notifies the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Services, a confidential resource described above, so that they may also conduct outreach.

The Title IX Coordinator may refer the report to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards (SJACS) if it is determined that the conduct does not involve a protected class issue or a form of prohibited conduct under this policy. Reports involving protected class issues that are made to SJACS are referred to the Title IX Office.

Upon report of prohibited conduct that involves a threat to the campus community by an individual or an organization, interim protective measures may be taken by the university. See sections IV Interim Measures and VII.D. Status of the Respondent above for a full explanation of interim protective measures.

B.  Intake

Any student who experiences prohibited conduct may make an appointment with the Title IX Office by telephone call, email, or in person. The first meeting is called intake.

At intake, the Title IX Coordinator and/or the investigator will gather information about the incident and assess the need for interim action with the student. Documentary material and a list of possible witnesses should be brought to this meeting. Supportive interim measures may be taken prior to and without an investigation.

At intake, the Reporting Party may address questions about the policy and the investigative process. The Reporting Party may bring an advisor to intake as described above.

C.  Request by Reporting Party to not proceed

A Reporting Party may request their name not be shared with a Respondent, no investigation be pursued, or no disciplinary action be taken. In these instances, the Title IX Coordinator and/or investigator will discuss the Reporting Party’s concerns and seek to address and remedy barriers to report, like concern about retaliation or lack of clarity about procedural options or potential outcomes.

The Title IX Coordinator will assess appropriate and/or possible action when a Reporting Party requests anonymity or when a Respondent is unknown; specifically, what actions may address the effects of the reported behavior.

The Title IX Coordinator will determine the appropriate manner of resolution under this Policy. The university will seek resolution consistent with the Reporting Party’s request while also protecting the health and safety of the Reporting Party and the university community.

In those instances when the Title IX Coordinator determines that the university must proceed with an investigation despite the request of the Reporting Party, the Title IX Coordinator will notify the Reporting Party that the university intends to initiate an investigation. The Reporting Party is not required to participate in this type of investigation or in any subsequent actions taken by the university.

Some factors considered in determining whether the university must proceed despite the request of the Reporting Party:

  • The nature and scope of the alleged conduct, including whether the reported behavior involved the use of a weapon or force;
  • The risk posed to any individual or to the campus community including the risk of additional violence or significant disruption of university life or function;
  • Whether there have been other reports of other prohibited conduct or other misconduct by the Respondent;
  • Whether the report reveals a pattern of misconduct related to prohibited conduct at a given location or by a particular group;
  • The university’s obligation to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment;
  • Whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed without the participation of the Reporting Party; and
  • Whether principles of fairness require initiation and/or completion of an investigation.

The university’s ability to fully investigate and respond may be limited if the Reporting Party requests anonymity or declines to participate in an investigation. The university will, however, take other action to limit the effects of the prohibited conduct and prevent its recurrence.

In all cases, the final decision on whether, how, and to what extent the university will conduct an investigation, and whether other measures will be taken in connection with a report of prohibited conduct, rests solely with the Title IX Coordinator.

D.  Intervention in lieu of investigation

Some conduct reported under this policy may be appropriately addressed by intervention prior to or during an investigation. Intervention is a remedies-based, non-disciplinary approach designed to address reported behavior, prevent recurrence, and remedy effects without a formal finding of responsibility and without taking disciplinary action against a Respondent.

Intervention prior to or during an investigation will be considered only when consistent with institutional values and legal obligations. Intervention is not appropriate for cases involving sexual assault, sexual contact, or intimate partner violence.

Examples of interventions are targeted or broad-based educational programming/training, direct confrontation of the Respondent, and/or direct or indirect action by the Title IX Coordinator or the university. Depending on the form of intervention used, it may be possible to maintain anonymity of the Reporting Party. Intervention will never require the Reporting Party to directly confront the Respondent.

Failure to comply with any required act in an intervention may result in a formal investigation and resultant disciplinary action.