August 21, 2017
SCampus Part B
UNIVERSITY STUDENT CONDUCT CODE
Section 10 – General Disciplinary Practices
Students are expected to make themselves aware of and abide by the University community’s standards of behavior as articulated in the Student Conduct Code, University’s Policy and Procedures on Student Sexual, Interpersonal, and Protect Class Misconduct, and in related policy statements. Students accept the rights and responsibilities of membership in the USC community when they are admitted to the university. In the university, as elsewhere, ignorance is not an acceptable justification for violating community standards. Lack of intent or awareness of university standards normally will not be accepted as excuses for violations and will normally receive the same consequences as deliberate violations.
Because the functions of a university depend on honesty and integrity among its members, the university expects from its students a higher standard of conduct than the minimum required to avoid disciplinary action. Likewise, while many of the university’s standards of conduct parallel the laws of society in general, university standards may exceed those found elsewhere in society.
Where there is a delay between the conduct and the reporting of the potential violation, the applicable provisions regarding behavior violating university standards and appropriate sanctions (as described in Section B.11) shall be those that were in effect at the time the behavior occurred. Student conduct investigations will be conducted according to the most recent or current procedures described in the most current version of this part as of the date of the notification letter to the respondent.
Any reference to “days” in this part refers to calendar days, unless otherwise noted.
10.05 Disciplinary Authority
The powers of the university are exercised, its property controlled and its affairs conducted by the Board of Trustees. Responsibility for the administration of these affairs is delegated by the board to various officers of the university, as stipulated in the corporate bylaws; the enforcement of all rules and regulations is the specific duty of the university president. The President, in turn, delegates the authority to the Vice President for Student Affairs to establish and hold student conduct review proceedings that will ensure the proper administration of the university’s rules and regulations. The Vice President for Student Affairs has delegated this responsibility to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards. The delegation of responsibilities is different for matters involving sexual, interpersonal, and protected class misconduct, which are delegated to the university’s Title IX Coordinator and are governed by the University’s Policy and Procedures on Student Sexual, Interpersonal, and Protected Class Misconduct.
In exceptional circumstances, where imminent harm may result to persons or property within the university community, the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee may modify procedures outlined under the Non-academic Conduct Review System (see Section B.12).
Student procedural rights and review procedures are articulated in later sections of the Student Conduct Code.
10.10 Basic Principles
I. The Relationship of Discipline to the Purpose of the University
The University of Southern California is primarily an academic community. As such, the university seeks to maintain an optimal learning environment. To achieve this objective, the university exercises certain disciplinary and discretionary powers. It protects its educational environment by establishing and maintaining standards of conduct for its students as individuals and as groups. These standards reflect the very nature of an academic community and the need to preserve an effective educational environment.
Activities of students may result in violation of law, and students who violate the law may incur penalties prescribed by civil authorities. However, the university reserves the right to review such incidents independent of action by civil or criminal authorities, recognizing that the university’s authority and its disciplinary process serve its educational mission and interest, a function separate from action by civil or criminal authorities.
The university’s function with reference to student conduct differs from the community’s function in method as well as scope. Recognizing its role in developing a sense of responsibility in students, the university uses admonition, example, counseling and guidance in addition to formal disciplinary proceedings. Every USC student is presumed to have sufficient maturity, intelligence and concern for the rights of others to help maintain the standards of the academic community. When a student’s behavior demonstrates otherwise, the university will consider disciplinary action as appropriate.
II. Conditions for Review
a. Definition of a Student:
For the purpose of university rules and regulations, a student is defined as one who:
i. is currently enrolled in university classes or in one of the university’s degree or non-degree programs,
ii. has completed the immediately preceding semester and/or is enrolled for the next scheduled semester,
iii. is officially representing the university during a period between regular academic semesters, or
iv. is not officially enrolled for a particular semester, but who has a continuing relationship with the university.
An individual may be reviewed under this Code if an allegation of academic integrity violation is made after the student has left the university and a degree has been granted.
b. Definition of a Student Organization:
A student organization is defined as one which has satisfied the administrative procedures for recognition as prescribed in this guidebook (see Section G.1. Recognition of Student Organizations) or which is functioning within the university community in the capacity of a student organization.
Generally, a matter will be reviewed only when a report has been filed with the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards within one year of discovery of the alleged violation. There is no time limit for cases involving academic, sexual, interpersonal, and protected class misconduct, and those matters will be reviewed whenever they are reported; such matters should be filed with the Office of the Title IX Coordinator, as explained in the University’s Policy and Procedures on Student Sexual, Interpersonal, and Protect Class Misconduct.
University jurisdiction and discipline shall be limited to conduct which occurs on university premises or within the university community, is associated with university sponsored or related activities, or which adversely affects the university community and/or the pursuit of its objectives, including student-to-student sexual misconduct.
e. Standard of Proof:
The standard of proof to find a violation of the Student Conduct Code is a preponderance of the evidence. Preponderance of the evidence means that based on the totality of evidence and reasonable inferences drawn therefrom, it is more likely than not that the Respondent committed the prohibited conduct charged. Put another way, the preponderance of the evidence means such evidence that when weighed against that opposed to it, has the more convincing force and the greater probability of truth.
f. Status of Students or Student Organizations Pending Student Conduct Review.
The status of a student in most cases will not be altered and disciplinary sanctions will not be implemented until completion of an initial review.
Interim Protective Measures may be authorized by the President of the university, by the Vice President for Student Affairs, or the designee of either, whenever there is evidence that a student or organization poses a substantial threat to the safety or well-being of members of the university community, to property within the university community or poses a continuing threat of disruption or interference to normal university life or functions. See Section B.11.83.
Administrative holds affecting registration transactions, posting of degree and a student’s ability to acquire copies of their transcript may be placed when students fail to fulfill terms of their disciplinary obligations. Such situations may include failure to respond to a written notice indicating a required appointment with a designated university disciplinary official and failure to complete disciplinary sanctions by an established deadline. This restriction normally will remain in effect until disciplinary obligations are met or adjudication of the matter is complete.
g. Status of Students or Student Organizations Pending External Review.
When a student is under investigation by an outside law enforcement agency, the status of the student may be altered prior to the initiation of the investigation by the university. Changes in status may include exclusion from all or part of university housing, exclusion from specified activities or areas of campus, interim suspension, or prohibition from representing the university in any capacity such as playing on an official team, serving in student government, or performing in an official band, ensemble, or production.
Some factors considered in determining whether to alter the status prior to investigation include:
- The nature of the alleged crime, including whether the crime involved the use of a weapon or force, significant loss of property, or a vulnerable victim;
- The degree of the crime;
- 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 misconduct by the student;
- The university’s obligation to provide a safe environment
III. Expectation for Students’ Conduct
The general principles set forth here and behavioral standards, which are described in Section B.11., are intended to provide clear guidelines for students as to what is expected of them as members of the university community, and to inform students of types of conduct that may result in university disciplinary action.
10.20 Summary of Student Conduct Code Review Process
Generally, student misconduct cases will be divided into four categories:
- non-academic violations (see Section B.12)
- academic integrity violations (see Section B.13)
- admissions violations (see Section B.14)
- sexual, interpersonal, and protected class misconduct cases (see the University’s Policy and Procedures on Student Sexual, Interpersonal, and Protected Class Misconduct).
The Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards is responsible for the integrity of the student conduct system. It gives advice and is responsible for procedural questions and conduct reviews, except for reviews of Sexual, Interpersonal, and Protected Class Misconduct. There are also separate review processes in certain schools (see Section B.12.14).
10.30 Student Procedural Protections
The university is committed to the timely and fair resolution of disciplinary problems in an adjudicatory process. Although the Student Conduct Code affords significant procedural protections in the adjudicatory process, this does not include the right to confront accusers or be represented by counsel.
With the exception of cases addressed under Sections B.12.13 or 12.14, students accused of violating the Student Conduct Code and reporting students are granted the following procedural protections:
I. Written notice via email of the incident report that specifies the nature of the alleged violation and the basis for the charge including the date or period of time and location regarding the alleged incident.
II. Written notice of the location of copies of the Student Conduct Code and Conduct Review System.
III. Written notice of the requirement that the accused student must meet with a judicial officer in the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards. The university reserves the right to conduct reviews in absentia when an accused student fails to respond after proper notice has been given or after the university has exercised reasonable effort to notify the student of the allegations.
IV. A fair and impartial review of the incident.
V. Prior to a review, a summary of rights, review procedures and avenue of appeal.
VI. The right to inspect documents and/or relevant information on file during the review.
VII. The opportunity to be present at the review; to inspect all evidence presented; and to present witnesses and evidence.
VIII. If the accused student declines to present information on their own behalf, this will not be construed as an admission of guilt.
IX. A written decision outlining the results of the review. In Summary Administrative Reviews, this includes the factual basis for the conclusions drawn.
Student conduct records are maintained as a confidential student disciplinary file. As a primary document in such files, distribution of written decisions is limited to accused students and to USC personnel charged with responsibility for implementation of sanctions. Complainants will be notified by separate letter of the outcome of the review. (For an explanation of university policy concerning student records, see Section C.5 Student Education Records.)
X. The opportunity to appeal the initial review within ten business days of receipt of the written decision. Both the accused student and the complainant will be notified in writing of the outcome of any appeal. Notice will be emailed to the student’s email address of record in the Student Directory, unless the student makes arrangements in advance with the investigator to have the decision mailed to the student’s last known address or hand-delivered. If a notice is mailed, it is deemed to be received three days after it is mailed.
XI. A timely initial review conducted as soon as possible after the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards has received all pertinent documents of the case. Due to the nature of the university’s academic calendar, the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards may not be able to conduct a review at any specified date or time.
XII. At all steps of the initial review and in preparing an appeal, the accused student and complainant may have an adviser of their choice present. The adviser may be a practicing attorney only for cases in which criminal charges are pending or the recommended sanctions include expulsion, suspension, revocation of degree or revocation of admission. Advisers must request and review a copy of guidelines for their role in the respective review process from the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards prior to the hearing in question. In all reviews, whether or not an adviser is present, the primary conversation shall be with the student.
Section 11 – Behavior Violating University Standards and Appropriate Sanctions
General principles of academic integrity include and incorporate the concept of respect for the intellectual property of others, the expectation that individual work will be submitted unless otherwise allowed by an instructor, and the obligations both to protect one’s own academic work from misuse by others as well as to avoid using another’s work as one’s own. All students are expected to understand and abide by these principles. Faculty members may include additional classroom and assignment policies, as articulated on their syllabus.
The Student Conduct Code articulates violations that are most common and readily identifiable. Conduct violating university community standards that is not specifically mentioned may still be subject to disciplinary action.
Where conduct under any provision of this Code involves student sexual, interpersonal, or protected class misconduct, a separate policy applies.
The following are examples of violations of these and other university standards.
A. The submission of material authored by another person but represented as the student’s own work, whether that material is paraphrased or copied in verbatim or near-verbatim form.
B. The submission of material subjected to editorial revision by another person that results in substantive changes in content or major alteration of writing style.
C. Improper acknowledgment of sources in essays or papers.
Note: Culpability is not diminished when plagiarism occurs in drafts which are not the final version. Also, if any material is prepared or submitted by another person on the student’s behalf, the student is expected to proofread the results and is responsible for all particulars of the final draft.
A. Acquisition of term papers or other assignments from any source and the subsequent presentation of those materials as the student’s own work, or providing term papers or assignments that another student submits as their own work.
B. Distribution or use of notes or recordings based on university classes or lectures without the express permission of the instructor for purposes other than individual or group study. This includes, but is not limited to, providing materials for distribution by services publishing class notes. This restriction on unauthorized use also applies to all information, which had been distributed to students or in any way had been displayed for use in relationship to the class, whether obtained in class, via email, on the Internet or via any other media. (See Section C.1 Class Notes Policy).
C. Recording a university class without the express permission of the instructor and announcement to the class. Recording can inhibit future free discussion and thus infringe on the academic freedom of other students as well as the instructor.
A. Any use or attempted use of external assistance in the completion of an academic assignment and/or during an examination, or any behavior that defeats the intent of an examination or other classwork or assignment, shall be considered academically dishonest unless expressly permitted by the instructor. The following are examples of unacceptable behaviors: communicating with fellow students during an exam, copying or attempting to copy material from another student’s exam; allowing another student to copy from an exam or assignment; possession or use of unauthorized notes, calculator, or other materials during exams and/or unauthorized removal of exam materials.
B. Submission of work altered after grading shall be considered academically dishonest, including but not limited to changing answers after an exam or assignment has been returned or submitting another’s exam as one’s own to gain credit.
A. Obtaining for oneself or providing for another person a solution to homework, a project or other assignment, or a copy of an exam or exam key without the knowledge and expressed consent of the instructor.
B. Unauthorized collaboration on a project, homework or other assignment. Collaboration will be considered unauthorized unless expressly part of the assignment in question or expressly permitted by the instructor.
A. Attempting to benefit from the work of another.
B. Any attempt to hinder the work of another student or any act which may jeopardize another student’s academic standing.
Using any portion of an essay, term paper, project or other assignment more than once, without permission of the instructor(s).
Falsification, alteration or misrepresentation of official or unofficial records or documents including but not limited to academic transcripts, academic documentation, letters of recommendation, and admissions applications or related documents.
Taking a course, any course work or exam for another student or allowing another individual to take a course, course work, a portion of a course or exam in one’s stead.
A. Accessing, altering and/or using unauthorized information.
B. Misuse of university computer systems or access to those systems as articulated by the university’s Computing Policies (including improper downloading of material, see Section F.1. Computing)
Fabrication: Submitting material for lab assignments, class projects or other assignments which is wholly or partially falsified, invented or otherwise does not represent work accomplished or undertaken by the student.
Any act that gains or is intended to gain an unfair academic advantage may be considered an act of academic dishonesty.
A. Dishonesty, such as furnishing false information to any university official, faculty member or office. This includes, but is not limited to, furnishing false information in academic petitions or requests, financial aid documents, student employment documents, financial statements or other documents or intentionally evading university officials and/or obligations to the university.
B. Failing to participate fully and truthfully in university investigations.
A. Conducting oneself in a manner that endangers the health or safety of oneself within the university community or at university sponsored or related events.
B. Conducting oneself in a manner that endangers the health or safety of other members or visitors within the university community or at university sponsored or related events.
A. Unauthorized entry, presence in or use of university premises, facilities or property.
B. Unauthorized entry into, or presence in, the dwelling or property of another.
A. Forgery, unauthorized alteration or unauthorized use of any university document, records, keys or instruments of identification, or of documents or records related to functions of the university.
B. Unauthorized presentation of oneself as a representative of the university for the purpose of gaining or attempting to gain privilege, convenience, goods or services.
C. Possession, manufacture or distribution of false or altered instruments of identification within the university community.
Theft (or attempted theft) of property or of services within the university community; possession of stolen property regardless of origin; or misappropriation of university resources.
A. Causing physical harm to any person in the university community or at university-sponsored activities.
B. Causing reasonable apprehension of harm to any person in the university community or at university-sponsored activities.
Note: Self-defense is that which reasonably appears necessary, in view of all the circumstances of the case, to prevent injury and remove oneself from the situation.
Destroying, damaging or defacing the property of others, whether in the university community or at university-sponsored activities.
Behavior which disrupts or interferes with normal university or university-sponsored activities, including, but not limited to, study, teaching, research, officially invited speakers, university administration, public safety, or fire, police or emergency services or other authorized activity. (Also see Part D. Free Expression and Dissent.)
Failure to comply with directions of university officials acting in the performance of their duties while in the university community or at university-sponsored activities, or resisting or obstructing such university officials in the performance of their duties, including failure to carry and/or provide upon request appropriate USC student identification.
Unauthorized use, possession or dissemination of alcohol or tobacco products in the university community or at university-sponsored activities. (Also see Section F.5. Alcohol and Other Drugs.)
Use, possession or dissemination of unauthorized or illegal drugs, or drug-related paraphernalia in the university community or at university-sponsored activities. (Also see Section F.5. Alcohol and Other Drugs.)
Behavior which disrupts or interferes with the freedom of expression of others in the university community or at university-sponsored activities. (Also see Part D. Free Expression and Dissent.)
Participation in or promotion of a disturbance of the peace or unlawful assembly in the university community or at university-sponsored activities, which may include violating published USC guidelines regarding amplification equipment and noise. (Also see Part D. Free Expression and Dissent.)
A. Engaging in disruptive or disorderly conduct in the university community or at university-sponsored activities.
B. Engaging in or encouraging lewd, indecent or obscene behavior in the university community or at university-sponsored activities.
C. Encouraging or permitting others to engage in misconduct prohibited within the university community, failing to confront and prevent the misconduct, notify an appropriate university official of the misconduct, or remove oneself from the situation.
Initiating or causing to be initiated any false report, warning or threat, such as that of fire, explosion or other emergency in the university community or at university-sponsored activities.
A. Misusing or damaging fire safety equipment or other emergency equipment in the university community or at university-sponsored activities.
B. Failure to evacuate during a fire alarm, whether the alarm is activated falsely, as a drill, or in a genuine emergency.
C. Inappropriate use of flammable substances or equipment, or use of such items without proper authorization.
A. Unauthorized use or possession of firearms or replicas, ammunition, explosives, knives, flammable substances or other weapons, or parts thereof, in the university community or at university-sponsored events.
B. Unauthorized use or possession of fireworks in the university community or at university-sponsored events.
Violating rules and regulations pertaining to the operation of bicycles, mopeds and/or vehicles, roller skates, rollerblades, scooters and skateboards in the university community property. (Also see Sections F.10. Bicycles; F.11. Motorscooters/Motorcycles; F.12 Coasting Devices)
Knowingly violating the terms of any disciplinary sanction imposed in accordance with the Student Conduct Code. This includes further violations during a period of disciplinary probation.
A. Violating regulations or policies governing residence in university owned or administered property (e.g., rules outlined in the USC Housing Contract and Residential Education policies).
B. Violating standards or policies established for social greek letter organizations, including but not limited to the Trojan Greek Standards & Accreditation.
C. Violating any policies, rules or regulations of the university including but not limited to administrative rules of campus offices.
D. Violating Section G.2. Group Responsibility for Student Organizations (including social greek letter organizations). This policy can also be found in the Office for Fraternity and Sorority Leadership Development and in the Office of Campus Activities.
Engaging in harassing behavior.
Any act chargeable as a violation of local, state or federal law may be cited as a violation of the Student Conduct Code, whether or not charges are brought by civil authorities, when such act(s) occur on university premises, or at university sponsored activities or events, or when such conduct adversely affects the university community and/or the pursuit of its objectives.
Engaging in behavior prohibited by the policy against Hazing. (See Section G.8. Hazing.)
Where conduct under section 11.54 involves student sexual, interpersonal, or protected class misconduct, the conduct will be subject to review under policy.usc.edu/student-misconduct/.
Threatening, attempting, or committing retaliation against anyone who, in good faith, brings a complaint under the Student Handbook policy, university policy, or applicable law; or participates in investigation of such a complaint; or protests in good faith alleged discrimination, harassment or retaliation against another. Such retaliation may include, but is not limited to:
- Coercion, intimidation, interference, harassment or vexatious behavior;
- Excluding or blocking someone from a team, activity, organization, or course participation due to that person’s having filed a complaint or been a witness as part of an investigation;
- Spreading negative information about the individual.
Sanctions for violations of the University Student Conduct Code are assessed appropriately for the cited violation.
Sanctions will be considered in light of a student’s comprehensive conduct record at the university. Sanctions will be designed to hold students accountable for their actions; to promote their physical, intellectual, social and emotional well-being; to protect the integrity of the educational environment of the university; and to ensure the safety of every member of its community.
All academic integrity violations will result in an academic consequence. Failure to comply with the terms of any imposed sanctions may be considered an additional violation.
When a student’s enrollment is cancelled as a result of disciplinary action resulting in marks of “W” on the student’s academic transcript, the university’s policy is not to refund tuition or fees for the cancelled enrollment.
One or more of the following sanctions may be imposed for violations of university regulations.
Expulsion from the university: Permanent termination of student status. A permanent notation will appear on the student’s transcript. The student will be excluded from all classes, seminars and programs; will not be allowed to participate in any university-sponsored activity; may not receive a USC degree; and is barred from university premises. If the expulsion becomes effective during a semester for which the student currently is enrolled, the student’s enrollment will be cancelled by the university resulting in marks of “W” for the enrolled courses on the student’s academic transcript.
Suspension from the university: Termination of student status for a specified but limited period of time. During the period of suspension, the student will be excluded from all classes, seminars and programs; will not be allowed to participate in any university-sponsored activities; is barred from university premises; and may not complete academic work elsewhere that may be counted toward the completion of a USC degree. A restriction will be placed prohibiting the student from performing any registration transactions during the period of suspension. The restriction will not be removed, and the student will not be allowed to perform registration transactions, until the stated period of suspension has expired and all disciplinary obligations have been met. A notation will appear on the student’s academic transcript indicating the dates of suspension. Upon earning a degree from the university, the suspension notation will be removed from the student’s transcript.
Violation of the conditions of suspension, university policies or regulations during the period of suspension may be cause for further disciplinary action, usually in the form of expulsion from the university. Normally after the suspension, the student will be on disciplinary probation for a specified period of time. If the suspension becomes effective during a semester for which the student currently is enrolled, the student’s enrollment will be cancelled by the university resulting in marks of “W” for the enrolled courses on the student’s transcript.
Students placed on deferred suspension may continue to participate in university activities unless specific sanctions or other campus and organizational rules or regulations restrict such participation.
Interim Protective Measures: The Vice President for Student Affairs or designee may authorize Interim Protective Measures, including suspension or other action, against a student or organization pending disciplinary proceedings whenever there is evidence that the student or organization poses a substantial threat to the safety or well-being of members of the university community, to property within the university community or when a student or organization poses a continuing threat of disruption or interference to normal university life or functions. A student or organization subject to Interim Protective Measures will be given prompt written notice of the charges and the opportunity for a review within 15 days of the notice, unless a later date shall be mutually agreed upon by the accused student or organization and the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards or the Title IX Coordinator.
I. Interim Suspension: Exclusion from all classes, seminars and programs; prohibition of participation in university-sponsored activities; and exclusion from university premises.
II. Interim Action: Includes, but is not limited to, exclusion from university housing or a specified portion thereof, limitations on hours of attendance at certain events or in certain university facilities, or exclusion from other specified activities or areas of the campus as set forth in the written notice of Interim Action.
Revocation of Admission: The student loses admitted status to the university. The student may not continue enrollment or enroll for future semesters and may not receive a USC degree. Normally, revocation of admission precludes the student from the opportunity to apply to or be admitted to any program at the university in the future. A permanent notation will be made on the student’s transcript indicating that admission was revoked and the date of the action. If the revocation of admission becomes effective during a semester for which the student currently is enrolled, the student’s enrollment will be cancelled by the university resulting in marks of “W” for the enrolled courses on the student’s academic transcript.
Revocation of Degree: The student loses the right to claim the degree as earned. Posting of the degree will be removed from the student’s transcript, and a permanent notation will be made on the transcript indicating the revocation, the degree involved and the date of the action.
Dismissal from an Academic Unit: Permanent termination of the student’s right to enroll or participate in the classes, seminars and/or programs of a specific academic unit, school or department.
I. Undergraduate Students: Dismissal from a specific undergraduate academic unit shall not prevent undergraduate students from enrolling in other university academic units. Normally after dismissal from an academic unit, the student will be on disciplinary probation for a specified period of time.
II. Graduate Students: Students who have been dismissed from a specific graduate academic unit may not enroll in other graduate programs unless they have gained formal admission to such programs.
Removal from an individual course or section of a course. Removal precludes the student from participation in and attendance of the course or section, or any of its sessions. In multiple section courses, the student will not necessarily be allowed to transfer to another section.
Grade Sanctions: Any disciplinary grade reduction including, but not limited to, grades of “F” for a course, a reduced grade for a course, grades of “F” or zero credit for assignments, or reduced credit for assignments. In cases where a student has registered for a course on a Pass/No Pass basis and the student is found responsible for an academic violation, a letter grade may be assigned. See Appendix A for university recommendations.
Disciplinary Probation: Indicates that the student has engaged in unacceptable behavior and may be required to report to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards or designee and meet specific conditions related to the violation during the probationary period. Additionally, the student is given written notice that any further violations of university policies may result in more severe sanctions such as removal from university housing, suspension, dismissal from an academic unit or expulsion from the university. Students placed on disciplinary probation may continue to participate in university activities unless specific sanctions or other campus and organizational rules or regulations restrict such participation.
Warning: Written notice to the student that continued or repeated violations may be cause for further disciplinary action, normally in the form of disciplinary probation, suspension or expulsion.
Restitution: Reimbursement for damage to university property or for misappropriation of university property or services may be imposed in combination with other disciplinary action where appropriate. Such reimbursement may take the form of monetary payment or appropriate service to repair or otherwise compensate for damages. Restitution may be assigned for minor damage to the property of individuals or groups within the university community, but adjudication of student discipline usually will defer determination of significant restitution to other appropriate processes.
Restriction or Loss of Computing Privileges: Consequences for violation of the University Computing Policies or violations involving use of university computing services may include:
I. Restrictions placed on the use of university computing resources that may include prohibition of access to particular facilities or resources (e.g., Resnet), or limits placed on the use of university computing resources (e.g., restriction to use for specified academic work only).
II. Loss of privilege of using university computing resources for any purpose, including academic work. Loss of privilege may be temporary or permanent.
Organizational Sanctions: All organizations, clubs and similar organized groups are responsible for compliance with university rules and regulations. Upon a determination that the group has engaged in violations, encouraged violations, or did not take reasonable steps as a group to prevent violations of university rules and regulations, the group may be subjected to permanent or temporary removal of recognition/registration, social probation, denial of the use of university facilities or other appropriate sanctions (see Section G.2. Group Responsibility for Student Organizations).
Other Sanctions: Other sanctions may be imposed instead of or in addition to those specified in the above list. Examples include but are not limited to: university housing reassignment or removal, restrictions upon or denial of driving privileges on campus, prohibition of student leadership opportunities, counseling, community service work, research projects, seminars, classes or other educational experiences deemed appropriate. Certain sanctions also may be assigned as “deferred” under appropriate circumstances (e.g., deferred removal from housing, deferred suspension from the university, deferred loss of organizational recognition).
11.95 Medical Amnesty/Good Samaritan Policy
Because USC places a high priority on student health and safety, the purpose of this policy is to encourage students to take immediate action in the case of an emergency. Some students may be hesitant to seek help or report sexual misconduct or seek medical assistance because they fear possible disciplinary consequences for consumption of drugs or alcohol. The university aims to remove this fear by clarifying the policy so as to encourage students and organizations to report sexual misconduct and to seek assistance for themselves and others who are experiencing distress while under the influence.
Those who report sexual misconduct or participate as witnesses in sexual misconduct investigations, or who seek medical assistance for themselves or another, by contacting a Resident Assistant, calling a Department of Public Safety officer, or calling 911, will not be subject to disciplinary sanctions for their consumption of alcohol and/or other substances. Instead, these students will be directed to the appropriate services, and amnesty for alcohol or substance consumption in violation of university policies will be granted to both the reporting students and the intoxicated student in need of assistance.
The policy does not apply if a Department of Public Safety officer or a Resident Assistant confronts the student first. The policy also does not preclude disciplinary sanctions due to any other violations of the Student Code of Conduct beyond alcohol or substance consumption.
Section 12 – Student Conduct Review
Note: This Section 12 does not apply to student sexual, interpersonal, or protected class misconduct, which is subject to policy.usc.edu/student-misconduct/.
Any member of the university community (faculty, staff and/or student) may initiate a complaint against a student or student organization for an alleged non-academic violation of the Student Conduct Code by submitting a report to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards. Academic integrity cases are initiated by a faculty or staff member (see Section 13).
12.02 Complaint through Other Channels
When an alleged violation is indicated in a USC Department of Public Safety or police report, or a referral by the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention and Services (RSVP), Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards, or the Office of Equity and Diversity, the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee may initiate a review of the alleged violation on behalf of the university. Such an action may be taken when the circumstances of the alleged violation affect the well-being of the campus or the personal safety or well-being of any member of the university community.
12.03 Contents of a Complaint
A report of an alleged violation should consist of a clear, concise written statement that contains the following information:
I. A list of any and all parties against whom the complaint is being filed.
II. A description of the alleged misconduct, the date or period of time during which it occurred and the location where the incident(s) allegedly occurred.
III. The name, address and phone number of the person making the report.he name, address and phone number of the person making the report.
IV. All complaints are considered to have been made in good faith. Any information to the contrary may be grounds for university action against the initiating party.
12.04 Timing of Complaints
Any report and request for a review must be made as soon as possible (preferably within 15 days but not later than one year from the date of discovery of the incident). Cases involving academic, or sexual, interpersonal or protected class misconduct, may be reported at any time.
12.05 Intake and Initial Fact-finding
Upon receiving a report that a student has allegedly violated university standards, the Director of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards, or designee, will review the report to determine whether there is good cause to proceed with the student conduct process. The Director or designee may conduct such fact-finding as they see fit in order to determine whether a particular complaint has merit, and such fact-finding shall not disqualify them from also conducting the Administrative Review with the student.
The Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards will send written notification of the complaint to the accused student via USC email.
Students who fail to respond to initial notification from the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards within five business days of the email notification or who cannot be contacted after reasonable attempts remain subject to Summary Administrative Review and consequent sanctioning. If the student fails to respond to the email notice to schedule an appointment with the designated member of the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards, an administrative hold will be placed on the student’s record prohibiting the student from performing registration transactions until an appointment is scheduled and completed. In addition, a Summary Administrative Review may be conducted in absentia when a student fails to respond to initial notification.
12.06 Overview of Student Conduct Reviews
In complaints where there is good cause, the Director or designee will meet with the accused student to conduct an Administrative Review, either Voluntary or Summary (unless the Director or designee has determined there should be a Residential Education Review). At this Administrative Review meeting with the Judicial Affairs officer the accused student has the opportunity to present any information regarding the incident. The decision as to whether the matter should be resolved by Administrative Review is at the sole discretion of the Director or designee.
12.10 Administrative Reviews
An Administrative Review consists of a meeting between the Director or designee (finder-of-fact) and the named student
I. In a Voluntary Administrative Review, the student does not dispute the facts upon which the allegations are based, waives their right to further review and accepts the decision by signing an Administrative Review form. Students accepting the Administrative Review form retain the right to appeal to the appropriate appeal body only as to the appropriateness of the sanction (see Section B.15.02.II).
II. In a Summary Administrative Review, the student may deny some or all of the facts upon which the allegations are based, or the student may dispute the appropriateness of the recommended sanction(s). The Director of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards, or designated review officer, may determine the student is responsible for the alleged violation(s) or dismiss the case, based on the preponderance of the evidence. Students found responsible for violations under the Summary Administrative Review process retain the right to appeal to the appropriate appeal body on all grounds (see Section 15.02). As an alternative to making a determination on the case, the review officer may refer the case to the Residential Education Review (Section 12.13).
12.13 Residential Education Review
In specified cases involving violations of behavioral standards outlined in the Student Conduct Code or the University Housing & Hospitality Services Contract & Living Agreement by student residents in university housing, a Residential Education Review may be conducted by a Residential Education staff member. A Residential Education Review is a process which utilizes procedures in lieu of the procedures contained in this Student Handbook (documentation on the Residential Education review process is outlined in the Resident Handbook distributed to each resident upon moving in to a USC Housing space).
12.14 Other Review Systems
The Vice President for Student Affairs has granted to several graduate and professional schools the authority to conduct independent reviews, render decisions and recommend appropriate sanctions in cases of alleged violations. Granting this authority does not preclude the university from adjudicating matters concerning the behavior of students from these schools. These graduate/professional school panels are subject to basic due process requirements and general procedural fairness. Separate review bodies and/or procedures for reviews exist in the following professional degree programs: Keck School of Medicine, Ostrow School of Dentistry, School of Pharmacy and the Leventhal School of Accounting. Sexual, interpersonal, and protected class misconduct cases are handled separately rather than through school processes, but the determinations of a completed sexual, interpersonal, and protected class case may lead to additional sanctions imposed by those schools as appropriate to the professional discipline.
12.40 Adjudicatory Procedures
All of the student procedural protections listed in Section 10.30 will be observed. Complainants will be treated with the same procedural fairness afforded accused students. With the exception of cases managed under 12.13 and 12.14, the following procedural guidelines apply to all reviews of Student Conduct Code violations adjudicated by the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards:
I. Multiple Accused Students
In reviews of incidents involving more than one accused student, the Director of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards will determine whether the reviews concerning each student be conducted separately.
II. Pending Criminal Charges
For cases in which criminal investigations and/or proceedings are concurrent or pending, the university normally may proceed independent of such investigations or proceedings. The accused student or the complainant may request that the university delay its proceeding. Such requests should be submitted in writing at least two business days prior to the scheduled review, to the Director of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards, stating the requested action and the supporting rationale for the request. The Director or designee may grant the request but is not obligated to do so. The mere fact that criminal investigation or proceedings exist will not ordinarily be considered grounds for delay.
III. Relevant Information
It is the responsibility of the finder of fact to render determinations concerning relevance of information to be presented as part of the review. Rules of evidence and discovery used by federal and state judicial proceedings shall not be applicable to reviews described in this code. Affidavits or other written statements submitted in lieu of a witness’ presence at a review shall not be admitted into evidence unless signed by the author; authorship and content of the document may be subject to verification at the discretion of the finder of fact.
IV. Standard of Proof
The burden of proof shall at all times rest upon the complainant. The standard of proof for deciding against the accused student shall be such evidence that, when weighed against that opposed to it, has the more convincing force and the greater probability of truth.
For cases in which it is determined that a student is not responsible for violating the Student Conduct Code, no sanctions will be assessed. For cases in which it is determined the accused student is responsible for violating the Student Conduct Code, the accused student’s conduct record (see Section 12.60) at the university will be considered in determining appropriate sanctions. Except for cases in which the accused student’s disciplinary history is a basis for the alleged violation(s) under review (e.g., reference to Section 11.49 or to a continuing pattern of behavior), consideration of that history will occur subsequent to the determination of responsibility.
Cases involving suspension, expulsion, revocation of degree and revocation of admission are subject to review and possible modification by the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee.
Included with the decision document will be a statement outlining the proper course of appeal for the particular case. A notification of the outcome and of the opportunity to appeal the decision shall be forwarded to involved parties.
12.60 Disciplinary Records
For certain cases or when a student is determined to be responsible for a violation of university standards by any student conduct process, a disciplinary record of the matter will be maintained in a confidential student file by the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards for up to seven years. Expulsion, suspension, revocation of degree and revocation of admission will result in permanent student conduct files.
Section 13 – Academic Integrity Review
Academic integrity violations at the graduate level are managed by the respective School, and violations at the undergraduate level are managed by Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards.
13.10 Graduate Students
I. Applicable Students. This process is applicable to the following graduate students, regardless of whether the student is enrolled online or in-person: masters, professional doctorate, Ph.D., dual-degree, progressive degree students (who have completed the undergraduate component), certificate, and visiting.
This process does not apply to students enrolled in: Ostrow School of Dentistry; the M.D. program at Keck School of Medicine; the Leventhal School of Accounting, and in a Leventhal course.
II. Submission of a Report.
a. Only faculty members are permitted to report a violation. If a student/other has reason to believe an academic integrity violation has been committed, they should communicate with the faculty/designee of the course.
b. Reports shall be submitted to the Academic Integrity Coordinator (“AIC”) of the School to which the graduate student belongs.
c. Reports may be submitted up to one year after the date of the alleged incident. This timeframe may be extended under special circumstances (i.e. complaint is severe enough to impact the awarding of the degree).
d. Because the student may contest the allegation, they must be allowed to attend all classes and complete all assignments until the report is resolved.
III. Notice to Student
a. The AIC will provide notice to the student of the exact allegations and subsequent process.
b. The student may not withdraw from a course in which they have been accused of committing an academic integrity violation.
c. Unless otherwise permitted, the student will have five calendar days from the receipt of the notice to respond to the AIC to set up an initial meeting. Unless otherwise permitted, the initial meeting shall take place within five calendar days of the student’s response.
d. If a student does not respond, they will be notified that the decision-making process will proceed without them. A student’s failure to respond will not be assumed as an admission of guilt.
e. At the initial meeting, the AIC shall provide the student with: an opportunity to review the report and supporting documents; information about the process; an opportunity to discuss mitigating factors; and a timeline for submitting supporting documents.
IV. Review Options
a. Individual Review. The student will meet with the AIC and faculty member to discuss the incident and potentially come to an agreement as to responsibility and sanction (if any). This may take place over the course of multiple meetings. No other parties are permitted during the process. The student has the right at any time prior to a final decision to opt out and pursue a Panel Review.
b. Panel Review. Panel Reviews are required at the request of a student, or if a sanction of expulsion or suspension may be warranted. The AIC will convene the School’s Academic Integrity Panel to review the incident report and documentation, and meet separately with the student and faculty. The Panel shall be composed of 3-5 members (faculty and staff, designated by the Dean). The Panel shall make a determination as to whether the student is responsible, also recommend a sanction (if necessary).
a. The student is permitted to appeal the Individual or Panel Review within ten calendar days of receiving notice, unless otherwise permitted. Appeals shall be submitted to the AIC.
b. Appeals are permitted only on the following grounds:
- New evidence has become available which is sufficient to alter the decision, and which the student was not aware of or could not have been reasonably obtained at the time of the initial review.
- The sanction imposed is excessive or inappropriate.
- The AIC or Panel failed to follow university rules or regulations applicable to the particular student’s matter while reviewing the cited behavior.
c. The faculty member will have five calendar days to review and respond, if they so chose.
d. The AIC will provide the Individual or Panel decision, the Appeal, and the Response to the Appeal (if any), to the Dean or designee. The Dean or designee will have five calendar days to provide a written final decision to the AIC. This decision is final and binding, and will be provided to student and faculty member.
a. One or more of the following sanctions may be imposed:
- Expulsion (see Section 11.81)
- Suspension (see Section 11.82)
- Revocation of Degree (see Section 11.85)
- Grade Sanctions (see Section 11.88)
- Other (see Section 11.94)
b. Sanctioning Guidelines are provided in Appendix A. Sanctions for second offenses will be more severe and generally will include suspension or expulsion.
13.20 Undergraduate Students
I. Initiating a Complaint
If the instructor, academic unit or appropriate university official has reason to believe, based on observation or other evidence, that a student has violated the university academic integrity standards, they are encouraged to make reasonable attempts to meet with the student and discuss the alleged violation and the evidence which supports the charge. When necessary, such discussions may be conducted by telephone or electronic mail. In this meeting every effort should be made to preserve the basic teacher/student relationship. The student should be given the opportunity to respond to the complaint.
The instructor should assign a mark of “MG” until notification is received from the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards that a final decision has been made.
Also, because the student may contest the allegation, they must be allowed to attend all classes and complete all assignments until the complaint is resolved.
II. Sanction and Consequences
Unless the reporting party withdraws the allegation, the instructor, academic unit or appropriate university official may recommend an appropriate sanction for the violation.
Sanctions include but are not limited to: grade sanctions (e.g., “F” in course) and dismissal from the academic department. In addition, sanctions of suspension or expulsion from the university may be assessed through a review process when requested by the instructor, by the academic or administrative unit in which the violation occurred, or when indicated by university standards (such as the seriousness of the misconduct or the existence of previous academic violations by the student) Refer to Appendix A: Academic Dishonesty Sanction Guidelines, when determining which sanction is most appropriate for the violation.
Students may not withdraw from a course in which they have committed or have been accused of committing an academic integrity violation. Students found to have withdrawn from a course in which an academic integrity violation is alleged or determined will be reenrolled in the course upon receipt of a violation report by the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards.
Students found responsible for an act of academic dishonesty in a course in which they have participated but have not enrolled (auditing), will be retroactively enrolled and assigned an appropriate sanction.
Sanctions for second offenses will be more severe and generally will include suspension or expulsion.
III. Reporting Violations of Academic Integrity
As soon as possible, the instructor, academic unit or appropriate university official will provide the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards with a completed Academic Integrity Violation Form. The reporting party likewise will make a reasonable attempt to provide a copy of the report to the accused student.
Students having specific information regarding academic violation(s) of a classmate and wishing to report this academic misconduct are encouraged to contact the faculty member of the course.
IV. Response to Report
Once a report of an Academic Integrity Violation has been submitted, the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards will evaluate the report, confirm whether or not the accused student has a previous disciplinary record at the university, and notify the student of the allegation in writing. A copy of the notification will be sent to the individual submitting the report and to their academic dean, if appropriate.
If further review is not required, the student will be notified of report received, alleged violations and recommended sanctions. The student will also be given the opportunity to meet with a review officer from the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards. During that meeting, the student has the opportunity to request further review of the matter, thus initiating the Administrative Review process. If no meeting or further review is requested, the matter will be considered complete and sanctions initiated.
If the incident requires further review (such as when an instructor or academic unit has requested additional sanctions, when a student has previously been found responsible for an academic integrity violation or when university standards indicate suspension, expulsion, revocation of degree or revocation of admission), the student is notified in writing and must meet with a review officer from the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards as part of the Administrative Review process. At or following that meeting the Director or designee will determine whether the matter may be appropriately resolved by Administrative Review, either Voluntary or Summary. The Administrative Review meeting with the Student Judicial Affairs review officer is the student’s opportunity to present any information regarding the incident. If the student fails to respond to the written notice and instruction to schedule an appointment with the designated review officer of the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards, an administrative hold will be placed on the student’s record prohibiting the student from performing registration transactions until an appointment is scheduled and completed (see Section B.10.10). In addition, a Summary Administrative Review may be conducted in absentia when a student fails to respond to initial notification (see Section 12.05).
Section 14 – Admissions Violations Review
In cases where false and/or inaccurate information is believed to have been submitted by, or on behalf of, a prospective student prior to enrollment, if academic or behavioral violations occur, or if there is a failure to provide all requested information/documents, the Director of Admission will conduct a special admissions review.
This ad hoc review of the case may result in action(s) including a delay of enrollment or revocation of admission from the university. All pertinent documents will be reviewed and the prospective student may be asked to provide additional information regarding their application to the university.
A decision will be reached by the Director of Admission and communicated in writing to the prospective student. There is no appeal of a special admissions review.
Formal hearing procedures and protections cited in the Student Conduct Code do not apply to this review process. If the student is enrolled at the university when concerns about admissions violations arise, the case will be referred to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards for review.
Section 15 – Appeals Process
Following an initial review, a student found responsible for a violation of the Student Conduct Code may file a written appeal within ten business days from receipt of the written decision. Receipt is deemed accomplished by personal delivery or three days after the date of mailing.
In most cases, the status of a student will not be altered and disciplinary sanctions will not be implemented until completion of the appeal. Written appeals should be submitted to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards.
Should a party intending to appeal believe they have been given inadequate time to prepare their written documents, a written request for extension of time may be submitted to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards. The request must be submitted in writing within the ten business-day appeal period, and should include the rationale for requesting the extension along with a proposed date by which all appeal documents will be submitted.
Requests for extension of time will be considered on their merits and will not be granted automatically. When an extension is granted, opposing parties to the initial review may be notified.
The written appeal must include the Appeal Request Cover Sheet indicating the specific grounds for the appeal, supporting arguments and documentation, and any other relevant information the accused student wishes to include. Appellants should refer to Guidelines for Writing Appeals, a document available from the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards.
The appellant should be aware that all appeals are documentary reviews in which no oral testimony is taken. Generally, appeals are determined solely on the merits of the documents submitted and do not proceed to oral hearing. Appellate documents therefore should be as complete as possible.
Appeals must state one or more of the following criteria as the reason for the appeal:
I. That new evidence has become available which is sufficient to alter the decision and which the appellant was not aware of or could not have been reasonably obtained at the time of the original review.
II. That the sanction imposed is excessive, insufficient or inappropriate.
III. That the review panel or review officer failed to follow university rules or regulations while reviewing the cited behavior.
Upon receipt of the written appeal, the complainant is notified and provided reasonable opportunity to respond in writing to the appeal, when appropriate. When a student appeals, the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards may submit a response relevant to those grounds.
After receiving all appellate documents, the appropriate appeals panel will convene and review the submitted appellate documents, the written decision from the initial review and supporting documents relevant to the initial review decision. In addition, the appeals panel may request additional statements from the review officer of an administrative review. The appeals panel will issue a written decision through the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards to all principal parties to the initial review.
Upon review of the appellate documents, the appeals panel may uphold the initial decision in its entirety, increase sanctions of the initial decision, decrease sanctions of the initial decision, remand the case back to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards for further review or dismiss the case. The appellate panel applies a preponderance of the evidence standard.
All decisions of appellate bodies, as left in effect or modified by the Vice President for Student Affairs, are final and binding upon all parties. There is no further appeal in any of these cases.
Upon written request to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs, the university will provide an alleged victim of a crime of violence the final results of the disciplinary proceeding. Final results are available only after the appeal process has been exhausted and the university has made a final determination in the matter. Final results are limited to information related to the sanctions imposed by the university that affect the victim.
15.10 Appropriate Appeals Panel
I. Peer Review Appeals Panel
The Peer Review Appeals Panel reviews all nonacademic appeals except those resulting in sanctions of expulsion, suspension, revocation of degree or revocation of admission, and except for matters of sexual, interpersonal, or protected class misconduct.
The panel is appointed by the Director of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards, and consists of three to five members including at least one student member. The Director of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards, or designee, shall serve as a non-voting advisory member of every appeals panel. The recommendations of the Peer Review Appeals Panel may be reviewed and modified by the Vice President for Student Affairs at their sole discretion and, once approved, are final and binding upon all parties.
II. Student Behavior Appeals Panel
The Student Behavior Appeals Panel reviews all appeals where academic sanctions and/or sanctions of expulsion, suspension, revocation of degree and revocation of admission are imposed.
The members of this panel are appointed by the President or their delegate. Each appeal is reviewed by three members including at least one faculty member and one student. The panel will be advised by an appointee of the Vice President for Student Affairs. The adviser will be a non-voting member whenever the panel convenes.
The Student Behavior Appeals Panel serves the President through the Vice President for Student Affairs. The recommendations of the Student Behavior Appeals Panel are reviewed and modified by the Vice President for Student Affairs at their sole discretion and, once approved, are final and binding upon all parties. No student has the right to make a direct appeal to the Vice President for Student Affairs.
Section 16 – Student Conduct Records
I. Student conduct records are maintained separate and apart from all other student records. Student conduct actions become part of a student’s academic records only in those cases in which a notation on the student’s academic record is made for suspension, expulsion and/or revocation of admission or degree.
II. Records of student conduct actions are maintained in the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards for up to seven years after the most recent student conduct incident, except for students assigned University-wide sanctions, as described in item number 1.
III. All records are maintained confidentially as provided in the university’s policy concerning student education records (see Section C.5 Student Education Records).
IV. The Title IX Coordinator keeps records of sexual, interpersonal, and protected class misconduct.