10/29- Letter to Students from Student Affairs and Student Health

October 29, 2021

Dear Students,

We know the first semester back on campus since the COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges for many of you. Social issues and recent events related to reported sexual assaults in some of our fraternities, as well as midterms, have presented additional stresses. Please know we hear you and are here to support you.

Many of you have shared there is a lot of pressure to take care of your own mental health and wellbeing. Therefore, Counseling and Mental Health Services has increased the number of Drop-in Let’s Talk sessions and workshops. Also, students can schedule Let’s Talk, workshop or group therapy appointments through MySHR. Students with an urgent mental health matter should call 213-740-9355 (WELL), or walk in during clinic hours to access triage counseling services.

Halloween at USC
We know that time with friends is important. We are doubling our Late Night ‘SC efforts so that there will be more safe and fun activities for all students on campus. We hope these will be enjoyable social options over the Halloween weekend. Safe, substance-free experiences are available for our students throughout the year through our Late Night ‘SC programming. Activities this weekend include:

All events are limited to USC students and require a valid Trojan Check to participate.

Students are encouraged to be creative in planning their Halloween costumes, but, because we care about each other, it is also important to be sensitive to the cultural experiences of fellow students. As an inclusive campus, we encourage students to think about how the costumes they are planning may affect other students.

Safety, Prevention and Resources
Student safety is of the highest importance to our leadership and community. The university has a zero tolerance for sexual violence in any form. Information about drugging and sexual violence has been posted on the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention and Services (RSVP) website’s “Drugging FAQ” page , including answers to the following questions:

What are the symptoms of being drugging?
What to do if you suspect you have been drugged?
What to do if you think you have been sexually assaulted?
What is the medical amnesty policy?

Please remember that no single drug is used exclusively when it comes to drink spiking. Exercise caution in relying on drug testing strips to check the safety of a drink. Because drug testing strips do not test for all drugs that could be used to spike a drink, a negative test does not necessarily mean that a beverage is safe to drink.

Individuals affected by gender- or power-based harm can find information about RSVP’s advocate services and reporting options on their website. Advocates are available 24/7 by calling 213-740-WELL (9355) and saying, “Speak to an advocate.”

Regardless of whether a victim of sexual violence was unknowingly drugged or voluntarily consumed alcohol, medication, or drugs, sexual violence is not their fault. University policy requires all students to obtain from their sexual partners affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. Consent cannot be obtained by taking advantage of another individual’s incapacitation, regardless of what caused that incapacitation. Costumes are also not consent.

Stand Up for Your Community
A culture of consent is the community expectation at USC. By being an active upstander, we can shift the boundaries of what is considered an acceptable norm and signal to perpetrators that behavior that violates others will not be tolerated. USC students can learn skills to be active upstanders through the Upstanders Act Now program or can download the “Trojans Act Now!” information sheet about the 4 steps they can take to safely intervene: Distract, Direct Action, Debrief, and Delegate

Finally, all activities at our fraternities will continue to be paused until further notice. The university will be publishing an FAQ answering many of the questions we’ve received about the issue.

We are listening to our students and doing all we can to offer support and prevention resources. Thank you for all you do to make our campuses a vibrant and supportive Trojan community.

Fight On and be well!

Monique S. Allard, EdD
Acting Vice President for Student Affairs

Sarah Van Orman, MD MMM FACHA
Chief Health Officer, USC Student Health,  Keck Medicine of USC
Division Chief for College Health, Keck School of Medicine of USC