Message to USC Faculty
The recent campus-wide reports of sexual assaults and alleged drugging have been extremely distressing to us all. Such events ripple across the campus and broadly impact our students’ mental health and wellbeing, beyond those directly involved. These impacts can be particularly hard when the reports contain very little information and were made anonymously. As faculty, mentors, and advisors, our role includes providing compassion and concern for all of our students. I seek your help to offer that care to students who may be experiencing emotional trauma and stress.
We know you have worked hard this semester to build strong bonds with students as we returned to in-person learning and living. Please take a moment to check in on your students and provide empathy and support wherever possible. A list of resources follows this letter.
I ask that you adopt appropriate modifications that enable students’ coursework to be completed, such as extending deadlines and allowing students to catch up asynchronously, wherever possible. In addition, we are moving forward the deadline for students to receive an Incomplete. Usually available from week 12, effective today, students whose ability to complete coursework has been impacted by recent events may request an Incomplete in their classes. Please work with these students on a plan to complete their coursework. We are working toward possible grade accommodations that could include changes to our Pass/No Pass option. Students are also able to work with the Registrar’s Office on individual grading issues.
Sexual assault is abhorrent criminal behavior that is unacceptable at our university. We urge our community to respect the legal process as these matters are investigated promptly, thoroughly, and fairly. We have limited information and anonymous reports that are being reviewed. We must respect student privacy at all times and adhere to the legal process, which can take time and raise frustrations. It is likely that additional reports of inappropriate or criminal behavior will surface in coming weeks, adding to stress and anxiety. We are in the process of creating FAQs that will be posted later this week. We hope this will reduce student anxiety and correct any misinformation that may be circulating on social media or in other communications.
Sexual violence is a systemic public health problem within our culture – both inside and outside of USC. Too many have been impacted and students are reacting with a range of emotions. Some are deeply affected by their own personal experiences or those of their friends. Others feel sadness, or are feeling guilt by association for the organizations to which they belong, both within and beyond the Greek system. Additionally, we must recognize that we have numerous student organizations that use Greek letters in their names. It is critical not to make assumptions or target any particular groups or individuals simply because they live in the same area or residence where events may have occurred. The focus needs to be on stopping sexual violence – no matter where it occurs.
This is a time for everyone in our community to reflect on how we can best support each other, and to find ways to accommodate those students impacted by these troubling events. I want to thank you for your awareness, your concern, and your care for our students. Your compassion will go a long way toward healing and building a supportive culture. I welcome your input on additional measures we can take.
Charles F. Zukoski
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
cc: Office of the President
President’s Senior Leadership Team
Provost’s Leadership Team
Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity, and Title IX (EEO-TIX)
Resources and resolution options for addressing reports of protected class discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, as well as for education, training, and proactive partnerships that promote equity and civil rights.
Counseling and Mental Health
Provides counseling and support for student Reporting Parties and Respondents.
Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Services (RSVP)
Provides direct support to student Reporting Parties who have experienced gender and power-based harm.
Campus Support and Intervention (CSI)
CSI connects with members of the USC community when they need support in achieving their academic, professional, and/or personal goals.
Trojans Care 4 Trojans (TC4T)
A private and anonymous reporting option for students, faculty, and staff that is managed by CSI.
Department of Public Safety
213-740-4321 (University Park Campus)
323-442-1000 (Health Sciences Campus)
213-740-6000 (University Park Campus)
323-442-1200 (Health Sciences Campus)
National Sexual Assault Hotline
Provides 24/7 confidential support and services.
Rape Treatment Center at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica
Provides free confidential treatment for sexual assault victims, including 24-hour emergency medical care with forensic exam and proper preservation of evidence.
For a full list of confidential and private resources, please visit the EEO-TIX website.