Violence-Free Campus

The university’s goal is to enhance the safety of all USC campuses, facilities, activities, and events so that students, faculty, staff, patients and visitors can work, learn and receive health care in an environment free from violence and threats. This policy defines prohibited conduct and outlines reporting responsibilities should a concern for safety arise.

Prohibited Conduct

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.

“Violence” refers to any intentional or reckless act that physically harms people or property. “Threat of violence” refers to any verbal or physical conduct that conveys the intent to cause physical harm or to place someone in fear of physical harm.

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 DPS 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 HandbookStaff Disciplinary Practices policy, or the Student Code of Conduct. In addition, where appropriate, USC may pursue civil and/or criminal prosecution.

When this Policy Applies

This policy applies to students, faculty, staff, vendors, contractors, consultants, and all persons, whether or not affiliated with the university, who visit a USC campus or facility or conduct business with the university.

This policy applies to behavior occurring at any USC campus or facility, and off-campus during university-sponsored activities and events. In addition, this policy can apply to conduct occurring off-campus and off-duty, 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.

Reporting Responsibilities

All students, faculty, and staff 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.

In addition, all students, faculty, and staff must report any conduct that indicates a student, faculty or staff member might intentionally commit self-inflicted harm.

Required reporting includes but is not limited to behavior described above that any students, faculty or staff experience, witness, or otherwise become aware of, regardless of: (a) whom that behavior affects, (b) the perpetrator’s relationship to USC or its students, faculty, or staff, and (c) whether the behavior occurs on- or off-campus, if there is reason to believe that the behavior could affect safety of USC students, faculty, staff or patients.

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to report any behaviors of concern, whether or not strictly covered by this policy, so that the university may evaluate the need to address conduct potentially affecting the wellbeing of students, faculty, staff, patients or visitors.

Nothing in this policy is intended to require that any employee breach legally protected privilege or confidences, unless otherwise permitted by law.

Where to Report

Concerns involving faculty and staff must be reported to the Office of Equity and Diversity (213) 740-5086.

Concerns involving students must be reported to the Office of Student Affairs (213) 740-2421.

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.
  • For situations occurring off-campus (including buildings not located directly on UPC or HSC), call the police at 9-1-1.

For information on additional reports required for violence or threats involving children, see the Mandated Reporters and Protecting Minors policies.

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, boyfriend/girlfriend, family member, or friend. USC strongly encourages those experiencing abuse in their personal relationships to approach the Center for Women and Men (for students) or the Center for Work and Family Life (faculty and staff) for referrals to resources that can provide assistance. In addition, USC 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, faculty, or staff 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, faculty, or staff 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

If a violation of this policy is alleged by a student, staff or faculty member, the university will investigate and determine whether any disciplinary action is appropriate. Investigations will be conducted by Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards in cases involving students, and by the Office of Equity and Diversity in cases involving employees. Any such disciplinary action will be considered in accordance with the provisions of the Student Code of Conduct, Staff Disciplinary Practices policy, or Faculty Handbook, as appropriate.

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 a Threat Management Team to investigate, assess, and respond to reports of such behaviors or circumstances.

The Threat Management Team, and others called upon to address a report under this policy, will treat all reports with the utmost sensitivity and discretion. The team will promptly investigate reports and take all necessary and appropriate action to address and resolve them.

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, faculty, or staff who believes that he or she is being 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 Equity and Diversity (213) 740-5086.

Responsible Offices

Office of Equity and Diversity
(213) 740-5086

Office of Student Affairs
(213) 740-2021

Issued by

Elizabeth Garrett, Provost and Senior Vice President, Academic Affairs
Todd R. Dickey, Senior Vice President, Administration
University of Southern California