Important Title IX and OCR Resolution Agreement Updates

Jan. 18, 2022

Dear USC Community,

I write to update you on several important matters related to Title IX and the University’s commitment to maintaining an environment free from discrimination and harassment. Below, please find updates in the following areas:

Notice of Non-Discrimination
Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation
Centralized Reporting Directive
Upcoming Supervisor File Review
Next Steps

Notice of Non-Discrimination

USC’s Notice of Non-Discrimination (“Notice”) has been updated to include additional content relevant to our health care system, including the contact information for the Deputy EEO-Title IX Coordinator for Healthcare. The Notice is available here and on the footer of the University’s home page and many other University web pages. 

Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation

On January 1, 2022, the university updated its Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation (“Policy”) and Resolution Process for Sexual Misconduct (“Resolution Process”) to incorporate additional legal elements required under California’s Senate Bill 493 and Education Code section 66281.8, which became effective January 1, 2022. The key changes required by SB 493 are:

  • Expanded list of individuals who are considered to be Responsible Employees/Designated Employees
  • Introduction of a requirement that the University respond when it has constructive notice of potential sex discrimination
  • A prohibition on cross-examination of parties by advisors for Prohibited Conduct under SB 493 (although cross-examination by advisors for Title IX sexual harassment remains)
  • Enhanced training for trauma-informed investigatory and resolution processes
  • Expanded definitions of certain forms of sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, sexual violence, rape, sexual battery, and sexual exploitation
  • Steps to follow when the Reporting Party requests anonymity/confidentiality

This spring, my team will continue to work on other revisions to the Policy and Resolution Process. The Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity, and Title IX (EEO-TIX) has been soliciting feedback and comments on the Policy and Resolution Process and reviewing to ensure that these documents effectively serve our students, staff, and faculty and remain current with effective practices and the evolving state and federal frameworks, including a new Title IX rulemaking process slated to begin in April 2022.

Centralized Reporting Directive

Under our Resolution Agreement with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the University is required to issue this Centralized Reporting Directive, which was recently approved by OCR. To ensure a safe climate for all USC community members, it is vital for all faculty and staff to be familiar with their reporting responsibilities under Title IX, SB 493, and the University-wide Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation, and for Designated Employees to immediately forward to EEO-TIX any reports, disclosures, or other known information about sexual or gender-based harassment and violence of which they are aware.

Who Must Report
As shared in my November 11 memo, under the Policy, faculty and staff fall into one of three categories: (1) Designated Employees; (2) Confidential Resources; and (3) All Other Staff Employees. The reporting requirements for each category, as well as information about Clery Act reporting responsibilities, are available here.

What Must be Reported
Under the Policy, Prohibited Conduct includes: harassment and discrimination; Title IX sexual harassment; sexual assault; sexual violence; rape; sexual battery; dating violence; domestic violence; stalking; sexual and gender-based harassment; sexual exploitation; non-consensual viewing, recording, and dissemination; exposure; other forms of dating and domestic violence; and retaliation. 

When Must a Report be Made

A Designated Employee who is informed of a report of Prohibited Conduct is required to immediately share the report with EEO-TIX – no later than 48 to 72 hours. The duty to share reports with EEO-TIX applies no matter how the information is learned, whether from a direct report from a Reporting Party, from social media, from a concerned third party, or through any other source. 

What Happens if You Don’t Report
The failure by a Designated Employee to make a timely report of Prohibited Conduct may subject the Designated Employee to discipline, up to and including termination and notation in their personnel file.

Timely Reporting
Timely reporting of sexual- or gender-based harassment and violence, retaliation, and all other forms of prohibited conduct under the Policy is critical to ensure that individuals who experience such conduct are quickly connected to resources, including supportive measures, and reporting options both on and off campus; to assist the University in identifying potential patterns of misconduct; to ensure that all community members have consistent access to the University’s robust resources and procedures; and to promote and sustain a campus environment that is free from all forms of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. 

Reporting to EEO-TIX
EEO-TIX has both a dedicated Intake and Support and an Investigation and Resolution team, with trained staff who work to prevent, respond, and fairly and thoroughly investigate all reports of discrimination and harassment based on a protected characteristic (i.e., sex, race, gender identity or expression, religion, disability, etc.) and related retaliation. 

Reports to EEO-TIX can be made in person, by telephone, or by email, using the following contact information:

Mail or in person 
USC Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity, and Title IX 
USC Credit Union Building 
3720 South Flower St, 2nd Floor 
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0704 

(213) 740-5086 


Upcoming Supervisor File Review

Later this semester, in accordance with the OCR Resolution Agreement, “all University supervisors, including faculty supervisors, and human resources staff” will be required to “review personnel files and other records, if maintained separately from the primary personnel files, for current employees” under their supervision to identify any past complaints or reports of sex discrimination that have been received since January 1, 2016 that were not previously reported to the former Title IX Office, former Office of Equity and Diversity (OED), or current Office of Professionalism and Ethics (OPE) and EEO-TIX Office. The goal of this review is to ensure that reports involving sexual or gender-based harassment or violence, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking during the past six years have been appropriately documented and addressed. The timing of this review has been impacted by the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are committed to completing this review in a timely manner.

Next Steps

My team and I will follow up with supervisors in the coming weeks with additional details and specific training to support supervisors in understanding and complying with this requirement. Supervisors will be asked to attest that the review was completed, and all reports forwarded as required. 

I want to thank each of you for doing your part to ensure centralized reporting, which is the foundation of an inclusive and diverse University community where discrimination, harassment, and retaliation are not condoned, tolerated, or enabled.


Felicia A. Washington, J.D.
Senior Vice President of Human Resources
HR, Equity, and Compliance