Applies to: Faculty (including part-time and visiting faculty), postdoctoral scholars, staff and students (including graduate/undergraduate student workers and graduate assistants) employed by University of Southern California and its subsidiaries including the USC Health System (“USC Employees”). This policy continues to apply to individuals who are on sabbatical or other leaves, or who are visiting other institutions.
Issued: July 30, 2013
Last Revised: August 30, 2023
Last Reviewed: August 30, 2023
2. Policy Purpose
The University’s goal is to enhance the safety of all USC campuses, facilities, activities, and events and maintain an environment free from violence and threats. This policy defines prohibited conduct and outlines reporting responsibilities of USC Employees and students should a concern for safety arise.
3. Scope and Application
When this Policy Applies
This policy applies to behavior occurring at any USC campus or facility, and off-campus during University-sponsored activities and events, if that conduct generates a reasonable concern for safety at a University campus or related facility or during University-sponsored activities or events, or for the safety of USC students, faculty, staff, patients, or visitors.
|Violence||Refers to any physical action, whether intentional or reckless, that harms or threatens the safety of a person or property.|
|Threat of violence||Refers to any behavior that could be interpreted by a reasonable person as an intent to cause physical harm to another person or property or to place someone in fear of physical harm. This definition is not limited to in-person behavior and may also include conduct through any form of communication, including but not limited to, electronic means such as social media, text, email, or phone|
5. Policy Details
USC strictly prohibits violence, threats of violence, and any other behavior that jeopardizes or harms the safety of any USC campus, facility, activity, or event, or that raises a reasonable concern for the safety or wellbeing of students, faculty, staff, patients or visitors at a University campus or related facility or during University-sponsored activities or events.
Prohibited behavior includes, but is not limited to:
- Engaging in any act of violence toward a person or property
- Making a direct, indirect, or conditional threat of harm
- Engaging in any conduct, including aggression, intimidation, harassment, epithets, belligerence, and disruptive or erratic behavior, that has the purpose or effect of generating a reasonable concern for physical safety
- Damaging or destroying university property or equipment, or threatening such harm
- Engaging in stalking or aggressive pursuit
- Participating in, or encouraging, a fight
- Using any instrument to injure, threaten, or intimidate
- Using or possessing any firearm, explosive, or weapon of any kind, regardless of whether the person has a lawfully-issued permit to carry a concealed weapon (except for the University’s Department of Public Safety or peace officers on duty)
- Using university resources to engage in threats or violence towards anyone
In the interest of protecting safety, USC reserves the right to address any behavior in addition to that described above whenever the conduct generates a reasonable concern for the safety or wellbeing of students, faculty, staff, patients, or visitors at a University campus or related facility or during University-sponsored activities or events.
Violation of this policy is considered to be serious misconduct and can lead to disciplinary and/or other appropriate responsive action, up to and including academic expulsion or termination of employment, in accordance with the provisions of the Faculty Handbook, Staff Disciplinary Practices policy, USC Student Handbook, or other University policies, as may be applicable. In addition, where appropriate, USC may pursue civil and/or criminal prosecution.
All USC Employees and students are encouraged to remain alert to and must immediately report any behaviors listed in the “Prohibited Conduct” section above to the persons listed in the “Where to Report” section below.
USC Employees and students are highly encouraged to report any conduct that indicates a USC Employee or student might intentionally engage in self-inflicted harm to the Department of Public Safety or local law enforcement.
Reporting should include but is not limited to behavior described above that USC Employees or students experience, witness, or otherwise become aware of, regardless of: (a) whom that behavior affects, (b) the perpetrator’s relationship to the University or any USC Employee or student, and (c) whether the behavior occurs on- or off-campus, if there is reason to believe that the behavior could affect safety of USC Employees, students, or patients.
Nothing in this Policy is intended to require that any USC Employee breach legally protected privilege or confidences, such as those arising from the provision of professional services by a mental health professional, medical professional, or other confidential resource, unless otherwise permitted by law.
Intimate Partner Violence
USC recognizes that some students, faculty, or staff may experience violence in their personal lives at the hands of a current or former spouse, domestic partner, intimate partner, family member, or friend. USC strongly encourages those experiencing abuse in their personal relationships to approach the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention and Services (RSVP) (for students) or the Work Well Center (faculty and staff) for referrals to resources that can provide assistance. Both RSVP and Work Well are confidential resources. Confidential resources are prohibited from sharing information unless required or permitted to do so by law or ethical obligations. Information shared with confidential resources when they are acting in the scope of their profession, will not be disclosed to the VP for EEO-TIX or any other University official, without the express written permission of the individual seeking services or as otherwise provided by law. Please refer to the University’s Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation for more information regarding confidential resources.
Apart from the confidential resources available to impacted parties above, reports of sexual assault, domestic violence, or dating violence must be immediately reported to the Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity and Title IX in accordance with the Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation. USC also requires students, faculty, and staff to inform USC’s Department of Public Safety of circumstances tied to intimate partner violence that can affect campus safety. In particular:
- ·Students or USC Employees who have obtained a stay-away, protective, or restraining order that identifies the campus as a protected area must provide a copy of that order to the Department of Public Safety.
- Students or USC Employees who experience threatening or violent behavior by an abuser on USC premises, or who believe the abuser could engage in violence at a USC campus, related facility, University-sponsored activity or event must report that behavior to the Department of Public Safety.
In discussing intimate partner abuse, USC works diligently to respect privacy while taking steps needed to ensure campus safety.
How We Will Respond
The University will review all reports of violations of this Policy and address the reports through the appropriate University offices.
Reports that concern a protected characteristic, including allegations of sexual assault, domestic violence, or dating violence shall be reported to the Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity and Title IX to review and address as appropriate in accordance with the University’s Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation.
Reports involving USC Employees (and not based on a protected characteristic) will be reviewed and may be investigated by the Office of Professionalism and Ethics (OPE), Human Resources, or their respective delegates or successors.
Reports involving students (and not based on a protected characteristic) will be reviewed and may be investigated by the Office of Community Expectations (OCE), or its delegate or successor.
If it is determined that there has been a violation of this Policy, appropriate disciplinary action will be considered in accordance with the provisions of the Student Handbook, Staff Disciplinary Practices policy, Faculty Handbook, or other University policies, as may be applicable.
In the case of conduct or concerns that have raised a concern about potential violence that might affect the University community, as deemed necessary and appropriate, USC employs an Office for Threat Assessment and Management to investigate, assess, and respond to reports of such behaviors or circumstances.
The Office for Threat Assessment and Management, and others called upon to address a report under this Policy, will treat all reports with the utmost sensitivity and discretion. Threat Assessment and Management will conduct a risk of violence assessment to determine level of threat posed by the involved party/parties and identify necessary and appropriate action to address the potential for targeted violence. Threat Assessment and Management’s risk of violence assessment is a separate assessment that may occur before or in conjunction with any University factfinding process to determine whether a violation of University policy occurred.
Our Commitment to Non-Retaliation
USC adheres to a strict policy of non-retaliation and prohibits retaliation and threats or attempts to retaliate against anyone who makes a good-faith report under this policy or who participates in, cooperates with, or contributes to efforts to investigate and resolve such reports. Any student or USC Employee who believes that they are being retaliated against or penalized as a consequence of making a report under this Policy, or for participating in, cooperating with, or contributing to efforts to investigate or resolve a report, should immediately contact the Office of Professionalism and Ethics or the Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity, and Title IX.
Where to Report
Concerns involving USC Employees or students that are based upon a protected characteristic (e.g., sexual assault, dating violence, or domestic violence) must be reported to the Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity and Title IX at email@example.com or (213) 740-5086.
Emergencies and immediate threats of harm must be immediately reported as follows:
- For situations occurring on-campus (UPC or HSC), call the Department of Public Safety (213) 740-4321(UPC) or (323) 442-1000 (HSC).
- For situations occurring off-campus (including buildings not located directly on UPC or HSC), call the police at
Concerns that are not based upon a protected class involving USC Employees or other members of the USC community, may be reported to the Office of Professionalism and Ethics and may be reported through USC’s Report & Response by calling (213) 740-2500.
Concerns that are not based upon a protected class involving students may be reported to the Office of Community Expectations at firstname.lastname@example.org or (213) 821-7373.
|POSITION or OFFICE||RESPONSIBILITIES|
|Office of Professionalism and Ethics||1.Responsible for receiving reports under this policy, assessing, and routing them to the appropriate office for disposition.2.Respond and/or investigate misconduct under this policy that does not concern a protected class at the direction of the Vice President of Professionalism and Ethics or University senior leadership.|
|Human Resources||1. Respond and/or investigate misconduct reported under this policy when the misconduct does not concern a protected class and is alleged to have been committed by faculty or staff.|
|Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity and Title IX||1. Respond and/or investigate misconduct reported under this policy which implicates the University’s Policy on Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation|
|Office of Community Expectations||1. Respond and/or investigate misconduct under this policy when the misconduct does not concern a protected class and is alleged to have been committed by a student.|
|Office for Threat Assessment and Management||1. Investigate, assess, and respond to reports of concerning behaviors or circumstances that may lead to acts of violence which target members of the University community.|
9. Related Information
Please direct any questions regarding this policy to:
|Office of Professionalism and Ethics||(213) email@example.com|