The University of Southern California (USC) was established in 1880 and now has an overall student enrollment that exceeds 48,000. The institution is responsible for maintaining compliance with federal Title IX guidelines, which were established in 1972. These provisions were implemented to address concerns regarding sexually-based discrimination in educational institutions.
The Title IX Coordinator is located in Stonier Hall and is available via phone, email, or in person. Those who wish to file a complaint anonymously may do so electronically. USC now has substantial resources available for victims of sexual misconduct.
Potential Interim Measures
As the University undertakes the investigative process, it may implement interim measures intended to protect and support parties. Orders may be established that prohibit contact between opposing parties. Examples include modifications to educational scheduling and campus housing arrangements.
Rights and Protections
Some of the following rights and procedural protections that are granted to all parties include:
- To be treated equally and fairly by trained investigators that are impartial
- Provided with a written summary of all allegations and notifications of all proceedings
- The ability to submit relevant evidence and identify potential witnesses
- A live hearing forum where parties may be “indirectly cross-examined” and witness testimony is heard
- The opportunity to appeal the findings
Role of Advisor
The Reporting Party (complainant) and the Respondent (accused) may choose an advisor. The advisor may be an individual that does not have any personal involvement or conflicting interests in the matter. This individual may support, assist, and help navigate the process.
The Hearing Process
USC has Evidence Hearing and Live Hearing options. An Evidence Hearing is held in the Title IX Office and overseen by the Title IX Coordinator and representation from those who investigated the matter. These are not used for cases where “severe disciplinary sanctions” are possible.
A Live Hearing is overseen by an adjudicator. Witnesses are cross-examined indirectly through moderators. The adjudicator may exclude questions that they believe to be confrontational or irrelevant. Statements delivered and responses to questions are often related to new evidence.
Sanctions or Penalties
The evidence is assessed and potential penalties are imposed by a Misconduct Sanctioning Panel of three individuals. Typically, the Panel is composed of two faculty members and one student. The Misconduct Sanctioning Panel deliberates privately. If the allegations are proven, the Respondent will likely face sanctions such as suspension or expulsion from the school.
An Appellate Panel composed of three individuals appointed by the Vice President of Student Affairs is responsible for hearing appeals. Notice of intent to appeal must be submitted within five days. The appeals process involves reviewing only written evidence. Appeals may be permitted if new evidence has emerged that was not previously available.
They are also permitted when a party believes there was some error or deviation in the policy. Parties may also appeal the sanctions that were imposed if it is believed they are “grossly disproportionate” to the violation(s). Those pursuing an appeal should have assistance from an attorney. This is critical for drafting a compliant and effective written appeals documents.
Attorney for USC Students in Title IX Actions
The Lento Law Firm understands the potentially severe adverse ramifications that can result from allegations of sexual misconduct. We encourage you to contact the office today at (888) 535-3686 for a consultation.