The Office of Professionalism and Ethics (OPE) is a centralized clearinghouse for complaints and the subsequent tracking of those complaints. It also oversees certain non-protected class investigations at USC, including both campuses and all university programs and affiliates.
There are two categories of complaints: protected class complaints and non-protected class complaints. Multiple offices conduct investigations.
Offices that Investigate Complaints
Protected Class Complaints
- Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity, and Title IX (EEO-TIX) is responsible for overseeing the university’s compliance with state and federal laws relating to—as well as investigating and responding to—complaints by faculty, staff, students, and applicants who believe themselves to be harmed by harassment or discrimination related to a protected characteristic. These protected characteristics include race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, medical condition, marital status, pregnancy, veteran status, genetic information, and any other characteristic specified in state and federal law or regulation. Harassment includes sexual assault and misconduct, intimate partner violence, and stalking. EEO-TIX investigators handle reports of protected class misconduct. The EEO-TIX Office also handles reports of retaliation related to reporting this misconduct.
Non-Protected Class Complaints
- Faculty Affairs. For complaints that do not meet the threshold of other investigative units and the respondent is a faculty member. Faculty Affairs often works closely with Human Resources and the Provost’s Office.
- Human Resources. For complaints that do not meet the threshold of other investigative units and the respondent is a
staff member. There is a Central Human Resources office, as well as numerous local Human Resources offices.
- Office of Conduct, Accountability, and Professionalism (OCAP). For more egregious complaints, such as hostile work environment or violence in the workplace, that require investigation beyond the normal scope of Faculty Affairs or Human Resources.
- Office of Internal Audit. For complaints related to internal misappropriation of assets or internal controls.
- Office of Culture, Ethics and Compliance. For complaints related to conflicts of interest, privacy and security laws, health care billing, and misconduct related to research grants, and Code of Ethics violations not within another office’s jurisdiction.
- Office of Athletic Compliance. For complaints related to athletic policies and procedures, such as NCAA, PAC-12, and USC rules.
- Student Judicial and Community Standards (SJACS). For complaints related to violations of the university’s Student Code of Conduct.