July 9, 2018
SCampus Part A
GENERAL POLICY STATEMENTS
Section 1 – University Governance
As a private corporation, USC is governed by a Board of Trustees. The Board is a self-perpetuating body, electing one-fifth of its members each year for a five-year term of office. The trustees delegate certain powers to the administration of the university and serve as the ultimate decision-making body.
The President is the chief executive officer of USC. The President carries out policies established by the trustees and, in doing so, has the power to delegate this authority to the officers of the university.
The Academic Senate, Undergraduate Student Government, Graduate Student Government and the Staff Assembly serve as consultative bodies for the President and the administration, preparing studies and reports and making recommendations directly to the president on matters pertinent to the functioning of the university.
Students, faculty, staff and administrators serve on university committees, which provide advice and counsel to the President and administration on a broad variety of matters related to the operation of the university.
Nominations for membership are made usually during the spring semester. Appointments are made by the President of the university. Information and applications for committee membership are available in the Undergraduate Student Government office, Ronald Tutor Campus Center 224, (213) 740-5620, or the Graduate Student Government office, Ronald Tutor Campus Center 224, (213) 740-5649.
Departmental and divisional committees and councils exist in many academic units. Information is available through each particular office. In addition, many of the non-academic offices on campus, such as the Engemann Student Health Center, have organized student advisory boards to voice opinions and participate in program development. The appropriate office or department should be contacted for this information.
Section 2 – Power of the Board
WHEREAS, the University of Southern California, like other independent and private universities, is financed primarily by charitable contributions and grants as well as by tuition, fees and contracts; and
WHEREAS, as a private institution, the university admits students selectively and students who elect this university recognize that their admission and continuance is in the nature of a privilege and not a right; and
WHEREAS, the powers of this corporation are exercised, its property controlled and its affairs conducted by this Board of Trustees, pursuant to the laws of the State of California, the Articles of Incorporation of the University and the by-laws of the university;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Trustees, acting through its officers, has both the right and responsibility to and hereby does affirm its final authority over the on-going institution, and nothing in the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities or any other policy pertaining to any subject promulgated by this board shall be construed as in any way abridging the basic powers, rights and responsibilities of this board.
Section 3 – Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities
Students, faculty and administrative officials at the University of Southern California, as members of the academic community, fulfill a purpose and a responsibility. The purpose is the humane and critical examination of major issues of social, political, economic, ethical and aesthetic importance which have in the past confronted, and which will in the coming years constantly confront, the society as a whole.
The responsibility is to understand the spectrum of viewpoints on an issue, and, equally, to be actively involved in the solution of the problems these issues delineate.
The university must, therefore, provide an optimal learning environment, and all members of the university community have a responsibility to provide and maintain an atmosphere of free inquiry and expression. The relationship of the individual to this community involves these principles:
- The fundamental human rights of others;
- The rights of others based upon the nature of the educational process;
- The rights of the institution.
Each member of the campus has the right to organize and maintain their own personal life and behavior, so long as it does not violate the law or agreements voluntarily entered into and does not interfere with the rights of others or the educational process.
Each member has the right to identify themselves as a member of the campus but has a concurrent obligation not to speak or act on behalf of the institution without authorization. Every member of the academic community shall enjoy the rights of free speech, peaceful assembly and the right of petition.
I. Relationship to the Institution
See Section A.4. Equal Opportunity
b. Student Participation in the University Government
As members of the academic community, students are free, individually and collectively, to express their views on issues of university policy and on matters of interest to the student body. The student body shall have clearly defined means to participate in the formation and application of university policy affecting academic and student affairs. The actions of the student government within the areas of its jurisdiction shall be reviewed only through orderly, prescribed procedures. Students shall maintain professional standards of discretion concerning information gained about other students and members of the academic community in the course of active participation in university affairs.
c. Student Right To Be Informed
All students shall have the right of free access to statements of policy which affect the student body. The university shall have the corresponding responsibility to publish or in other ways make known, those policies which vitally affect students.
d. Financial Matters
The student has a right to a full statement of tuition and fees for which he or she is liable and to be informed, as extensively as possible, how such monies are spent. Fees which students, through the student government, impose on themselves, shall be allocated by students within governmental and university policies and regulations.
e. Political Activity
Students have the same rights as any individual to engage in political activity either individually or in groups. However, the university will not permit its name or emblems to be used by any person in connection with a campaign, or its campus, facilities or equipment to be used for campaign activities. Nothing in this policy statement is intended to prohibit candidates or others from making public addresses on campus pursuant to campus policies and procedures or the traditional activities of recognized campus organizations.
f. Utilization of Campus Facilities
The university has the responsibility to provide students the use of campus facilities according to campus regulations. The university reserves the right to prohibit individuals and groups who are not members of the campus from using its name, finances, or physical and operating facilities for commercial activities. (See Section G.4 Facilities.)
g. Authorized Search of University Premises
In university-controlled housing and offices, the university reserves the right to have its authorized agents or employees enter the premises to make necessary inspection for services, maintenance and repairs. Authorized agents or employees may enter the premises any time for the security of resident(s) or for other emergency reasons.
II. Student/Faculty Relations
Because the university is essentially an academic community in which students and faculty are co-participants, both must conduct themselves in a manner conducive to the welfare of such a community and to the free interchange of information and ideas without which that community cannot exist. The nourishment of that sense of community bestows certain rights and responsibilities upon the members of that community.
(The latest editions of the USC Catalogue, catalogue.usc.edu, Schedule of Classes classes.usc.edu, and the Faculty Handbook, policy.usc.edu/faculty, contain many current academic policies and procedures.)
i. Protection of Freedom of Expression Students shall be free to take reasoned exception to the data or view offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion.
ii. The Importance of Teaching Teaching plays a primary role in the advancement of learning. Therefore, students have a legitimate concern about the nature and quality of instruction, and their evaluation of teaching shall be a criterion considered in faculty promotion and tenure. Students should know that faculty are required to meet with their classes as part of their academic responsibility (see Faculty Handbook, policy.usc.edu/faculty/ ). Freedom to teach and to learn implies that faculty members have the right to determine the specific content of their courses, within the established course definitions, and the responsibility not to depart significantly from their areas of competence or to divert significant time to material extraneous to the subject matter of their courses.
iii. Protection Against Improper Evaluation Students shall have protection through orderly procedures against prejudiced or capricious academic evaluation. The method of grading by professors shall be made known to students. Students can expect that faculty will be willing to explain and discuss any grade, and students have the right to appeal any grade. (See Section C.2. Disputed Academic Evaluation Procedures, and the Faculty Handbook online at policy.usc.edu/faculty/ )
iv. Protection Against Improper Disclosure Information about students’ views, beliefs, political associations, performance and character, which professors and administrators acquire in the course of their work as instructors, advisers and counselors shall be held in confidence.
v. Assurance of Accessibility Because the interchange of ideas between student and professor is of the utmost importance, and because such interchanges are often most productive informally, the university shall provide for student access to members of the faculty in appropriate settings outside the classroom.
i. Freedom of Expression As students are free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of study, so students are expected to respect the intellectual views of faculty and the reasoned process of academic debate.
ii. The Importance of Teaching As faculty are required to meet with their classes, students are expected to attend classes and to observe courtesy toward their instructors and their fellow students.
iii. Standard of Performance Students share responsibility for maintaining standards of academic performance and classroom conduct conducive to the learning process. It is the responsibility of the student to uphold the academic integrity of the university. Cheating on examinations, plagiarism, improper acknowledgment of sources in essays, and the use of a single essay in more than one course are considered very serious offenses and shall be grounds for disciplinary action. (See Part B. University Student Conduct Code)
iv. Student Participation in Faculty Evaluation In faculty evaluation, students have the responsibility to perform such evaluation according to academic criteria and not on the basis of opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic performance.
III. Student Affairs
As members of the academic community, students bring to the campus a variety of interests. They shall be free to organize and join campus associations to promote their common interests.
a. Freedom of Inquiry and Expression
i. Students and student organizations shall be free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them and to express opinions publicly and privately. They shall be free to support causes by all orderly means, which do not disrupt or substantially interfere with the regular and essential operations and activities of the university, since such disruption or substantial interference violates the responsible exercise of free inquiry and expression. Students and organizations shall make it clear to the academic and larger communities that in their public expressions they speak only for themselves.
ii. Students believing that their right to freedom of inquiry and expression has been abridged may present the issue to the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. (See Part D. Free Expression and Dissent.)
iii. The distribution of literature is an integral part of expression and of support for a cause. Rules governing such distribution shall ensure the maximum degree of freedom, which is consistent with the regular and orderly operations of the university and the rights of students. (See Section D.5 Literature and Publications Distribution.)
b. Student Participation in Student Governments
The Undergraduate Student Government and the Graduate Student Government are the official representative student governments of the University of Southern California with power to make studies, reports and recommendations to the President of the university in any and all matters pertaining to the well-being of the student body. The role of the student government within the areas of its jurisdiction shall be reviewed by the university administration only through orderly procedures and channels.
c. Student Publications
The university shall provide editorial freedom for student publications to maintain their integrity as vehicles for free inquiry and free expression in the academic community. The editorial freedom of student editors and managers entails a responsibility to abide by the canons of responsible journalism. Libel, indecency, undocumented allegations, attacks on personal integrity and the techniques of harassment and innuendo shall be considered violation of those canons. As safeguards for the editorial freedom of student publications, the following provisions are guaranteed:
i. The student press shall be free of censorship and advance copy approval, and its editors and managers shall be free to develop their own editorial policies and patterns of news coverage.
ii. All university-published and/or -financed student publications shall state explicitly on the editorial page that the opinions expressed are not those of the university or its student body as a whole.
iii. Editors and managers of student publications shall be protected from arbitrary suspension and removal because of student, faculty, administrative or public disapproval of editorial policy or content. Only for proper and stated causes can editors be subject to removal, and then by orderly and prescribed procedures.
d. Freedom of Association
i. The university has the right to recognize student organizations and to withdraw recognition for failure to abide by campus regulations and federal, state and municipal laws and regulations.
ii. Student organizations shall be allowed to invite and to hear any person of their choosing in accordance with recognized university speaker procedures, required by the university before the guest speaker is invited to appear on campus. Such procedures shall be designed only to ensure that there is orderly scheduling of facilities and adequate preparation for the event. Control of campus facilities shall not be used as a device of censorship. Sponsoring organizations shall make clear to the academic and larger communities that sponsorship of guest speakers does not imply approval or endorsement of the views presented, either by the sponsoring group or the university.
iii. The membership, policies and action of a student organization shall generally be determined by a vote of only those persons who are bona fide members of the university community and of that organization.
iv. Affiliation with an extramural organization shall not of itself disqualify a student organization from university recognition.
v. When student organizations are encouraged to have advisers, or when campus advisers are required, each organization shall be free to choose its own adviser. Institutional recognition shall not be withheld or withdrawn solely because of the inability of a student organization to obtain an adviser. Campus advisers may advise organizations in carrying out their responsibilities, but they shall not have the authority to control the policies or finances of such organizations.
vi. Student organizations, including those affiliated with an extramural organization, shall be open to all students without respect to race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion (except for those religious qualifications which may be specified by organizations whose aims are primarily sectarian), sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, physical disability, medical condition, mental disability, marital status, pregnancy, veteran status, genetic information, and any other characteristic which may be specified in applicable laws and governmental regulations,. (Consult the Office of the Vice President, Student Affairs, for the provisions of Title VI and IX.)
vii. Student organizations capable of maintaining financial autonomy shall be allowed to do so. Provision by the university for handling budgets and accounts, banking and other financial services shall in no way indicate a prerogative on the part of the university to control funds, except through prescribed procedures designed to redress justified grievances or uphold university regulations.
vii. Student organizations, in consultation and coordination with the university, may publicize their events and solicit participation in them from the university and outside community. (See Part G. Student Organizations.)
(Portions of this section excerpted from the AAUP’s Joint Statement on Rights and Freedoms of Students)
Adopted by the Board of Trustees, subject to the resolution on Power of the Board. It has been updated to reflect current policies.
Section 4 – Equal Opportunity
The University of Southern California is an equal opportunity, affirmative action educator and employer, proudly pluralistic and firmly committed to providing education and employment opportunities to outstanding, qualified individuals with diverse backgrounds and experience. The university strives to maintain a welcoming community in which all its members may live, work and learn in peace and dignity, be proud of who they are, and have equal opportunity to realize their full potential as individuals and members of society. To this end, the university places great emphasis on those values and virtues that bind us together as human beings and members of the Trojan Family. The university enthusiastically supports the principles of affirmative action and equal opportunity in their entirety, and expects that every person associated with the university will give continuing support to its implementation.
The university is committed to complying with all applicable laws and regulations – at all levels of government – that prohibit discrimination against, or mandate special consideration be given to, applicants for admission or employment, or current faculty, staff, students, on the basis of any protected characteristic. This commitment applies to all the university’s educational programs and activities including admissions, as well as all employment actions including but not limited to recruiting, hiring, promotion, demotion, compensation, benefits, transfers, layoffs, return from layoff, provision of leaves, training, education, tuition assistance and other programs.
The university prohibits students, employees, contractors, volunteers, and visitors (collectively, “community members”) from engaging in discrimination and harassment based on any individual’s age, ancestry, citizenship, color, physical or mental disability, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, military status, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, protected veteran status, or any other basis protected by applicable laws or regulations. The university also prohibits community members from engaging in sexual assault, non-consensual sexual contact, sexual misconduct, intimate partner violence, stalking, and violations of temporary administrative actions.
Retaliation by university community members is also prohibited, including intimidation, threats, or coercion, where the retaliation is because any students, employees, or applicants for employment or academic admission have objected to discrimination, engaged or may engage in filing a complaint, assisted in a review, investigation, or hearing, or have otherwise sought to exercise their rights under any federal, state, or local equal employment opportunity law.
The university makes good faith effort toward compliance with all state and federal laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination in education or employment, even when relevant laws and regulations conflict with each other, or where obligations may be vague or otherwise unclear. Beyond mere compliance, the university strives to develop and implement best practices regarding non-discrimination and equal opportunity and access in both education and employment.
All students, staff, faculty, vendors, and contractors associated with USC must adhere to this policy and are encouraged to assist the university’s efforts in support of non-discrimination and equal opportunity and access.
II. Equal Access for Students with Disabilities
Otherwise qualified individuals must not be denied admissions, participation in educational programs and activities, or employment due to their disability. University policies and procedures ensure that students and student applicants with disabilities will be provided full and equal access to and enjoyment of academic and co-curricular programs or activities, regardless of disability status, in an environment free from discrimination or harassment.
The Office of Disability Services and Programs is the campus unit that reviews requests for and determines reasonable student accommodations and auxiliary aids and services for any student or student applicant with a disability.
Questions regarding the application of the various rules and regulations including but not limited to equal employment opportunity, affirmative action and non-discrimination, and Title IX should be addressed to the Office of Equity and Diversity. The Executive Director of the Office of Equity and Diversity is also the university’s Title IX Coordinator.
Office of Equity and Diversity | Title IX
University Park Campus
3720 S. Flower Street 2nd floor
Credit Union Building, 200
Los Angeles, California 90089-0704
Health Science Campus
2001 N. Soto Street, Suite 203
Los Angeles, CA 90002-9236
Title IX Coordinator
Affirmative Action and EEO Coordinator
Contact the Office of Equity and Diversity
Disability Accommodation Coordinator
Contact USC Human Resources
Office of Disability Services and Programs
USC Human Resources
IV. External reporting options
Any individual may file reports and/or complaints about the university’s handling of prohibited conduct to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) with the U.S. Department of Education at (415) 486-5555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. OCR complaints should be filed within 180 days of the last date of alleged discrimination. OCR may extend this deadline in a variety of circumstances.
Employees may file reports and/or complaints with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) at email@example.com or www.dfeh.ca.gov, or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at (800) 669-4000 (TTY (800) 669-6820) or www.eeoc.gov. Complaints must be filed with the DFEH no later than one year from the date of the alleged unlawful conduct. If the DFEH believes that a complaint is valid and settlement efforts fail, the DFEH may seek an administrative hearing before the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission (FEHC) or file a lawsuit in court. Both the FEHC and the courts have the authority to award monetary and non-monetary relief in meritorious cases.
Any person who believes that the university as a federal contractor has violated nondiscrimination or affirmative action obligations may contact the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) at (800) 397-6251 (TTY: (202)693-1337).
Section 5 – Principles of Community
USC is a multicultural community of people from diverse racial, ethnic, gender, and class backgrounds, national origins, faith backgrounds, political beliefs, abilities, and sexual orientations. Our activities, programs, classes, workshops, lectures, and everyday interactions are enriched by our acceptance of one another, and we strive to learn from each other in an atmosphere of positive engagement and mutual respect.
We want to make explicit our expectations regarding the behavior of each member of our community. As adults, we are responsible for our behavior and are fully accountable for our actions. We each must take responsibility for our awareness of racism, sexism, ageism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, ableism and other forms of discrimination.
Bigotry will not go unchallenged within this community. No one has the right to denigrate another human being on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, national origins, and other identities. We will not tolerate verbal or written abuse, threats, harassment, intimidation, or violence against person or property. In this context, we do not accept alcohol or substance abuse as an excuse, reason, or rationale for such abuse, harassment, intimidation or violence. Ignorance or “it was just a joke” is also not an excuse for such behavior.
All who work, live, study, and teach in the USC community are here by choice, and as part of that choice should be committed to these principles which are an integral part of the USC’s focus, goals, and mission.
Section 6 – Code of Ethics at the University of Southern California
See Code of Ethics of USC at policy.usc.edu/ethics
Section 7 – Department of Education Compliance
The Department of Education requires each state to have an external agency responsible for handling complaints related to the university’s compliance with applicable laws. In California, this external agency is the Bureau for Private Post-Secondary Education. Complaints that suggest the university may not be in compliance with applicable laws may be directed to:
Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education
2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 400
Sacramento, CA 95833
Telephone: (916) 431-6959
See www2.ed.gov/about/contacts/state/index.html for a list of all other state departments of higher education.
Additionally, the university is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. Complaints demonstrating a possible violation of the Commission’s Standards of Accreditation and Commission policies and procedures should be directed to:
WASC Senior College and University Commission
985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100
Alameda, CA 94501
Phone: (510) 748-9001