Joint Committee to Review Processes and Practices: OCAP

Message to USC Faculty and Staff

From: Charles F. Zukoski, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs; Felicia A. Washington, Senior Vice President for Human Resources; Rebecca Lonergan, President, Academic Senate; Erika H. Chesley, President, Staff Assembly        

February 18, 2020

We are joining today to announce a committee that will review and make recommendations regarding our investigatory processes and practices in the Office of Conduct, Accountability, and Professionalism (OCAP). The feedback from this committee will also inform the design of an Employee Relations function at the university.

Created two years ago to capture all non-protected status concerns and complaints that trigger university policy implications, OCAP’s processes and practices are not well understood today.  Indeed, some of our faculty and staff continue to raise concerns about OCAP due to a lack of clarity and a lack of understanding about its outcomes. OCAP conducts workplace investigations, makes findings of fact, and determines if university policy was violated. OCAP does not issue sanctions or discipline with respect to its findings, as that responsibility currently rests with Human Resources (for staff) and the Committee on Professional Responsibility (for faculty).

Since November, an Employee Relations Design Team has been meeting to understand processes and needs, and to design a more human-centered approach to employee relations. This working group, which includes the Academic Senate President, two additional faculty members, the Vice President for Culture, Ethics, and Compliance, and HR professionals, has been focusing on early intervention, training and other actions focused on building healthy working environments.

Now is a good time to get more input from our faculty and staff related to OCAP and its interplay with employee relations, as part of the broader USC HR: Designing for the Future initiative. With that goal in mind, we are establishing the Joint Committee to Review Processes and Practices: OCAP, which will include faculty and staff representatives. The list of members is appended.

The charge to the committee is threefold:

  • Examine the current processes by which OCAP investigates complaints and makes findings.
  • Review statistics regarding complaints and resulting outcomes.  This committee will not revisit findings nor have a role in the conduct of OCAP investigations during the pendency of this review.
  • Make recommendations for enhancements to the USC Human Resources/Employee Relations Steering Committee by the end of the semester.

We appreciate the willingness of the committee to serve and to work cooperatively and thoroughly in a short timeframe. The committee’s work will be critical in helping us build and maintain a work environment that upholds the highest standards of integrity while supporting all USC employees.

cc: Office of the President
President’s Senior Leadership Team
Academic Deans
Provost’s Leadership Team
GSG President
USG President

Joint Committee to Review Processes and Practices: OCAP

Co-chair: Rebecca Lonergan, Academic Senate President, USC Gould School of Law
Co-chair: Erika Chesley, Staff Assembly President, Auxiliary Services
Steve Bucher, Professor of Technical Communication Practice, USC Viterbi School of Engineering
Paula Cannon, Distinguished Professor of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology; Associate Director of Cross School Programs for the MESH Academy, Keck School of Medicine of USC
Gretchen Dahlinger-Gaspari, Executive Director, Equity and Diversity and Title IX, Office of Equity and Diversity
Judy Garner, Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs, Keck School of Medicine of USC
Michael Gorse, Center Supervisor for LGBT Resource Center, Student Affairs
Devin Griffiths, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
Karen Koblitz, Professor Emerita of the Practice, Art, USC Roski School of Art and Design
Mark Manley, Director of Professionalism and Ethics, Office of Legal Affairs and Professionalism
Patricia Riley, Associate Professor of Communication and Director, Global Communication Master’s Degree Program, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
Fred Weaver, Professor of Surgery; Division Chief, Vascular Surgery, Keck School of Medicine of USC
Sue Vogl, President, Staff Retirement Association

(Note: An emailed version of this announcement listed an incorrect name in the committee roster. This has now been corrected.)