Many commonly asked questions about what happens when you are referred to Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards (SJACS) are answered below. This section is intended to provide general answers to general questions. Please always refer to SCampus for detailed and thorough explanations.
- I was involved in an incident and was told I had to come to SJACS/ or I received a letter from SJACS; what does this mean?
- What happens in the meeting?
- Can I call to find out what’s going on, or just talk to the Judicial Officer on the phone and explain myself?
- May I see a copy of the report?
- Who will be at the meeting?
- Should I bring anyone with me to the meeting?
- What happens if I choose not to schedule an appointment by the meeting date, choose not to appear for a scheduled meeting or choose not to comply with a sanction?
- Why is there a hold on my account?
- What happens if I did not receive the letter I was sent?
- Will my parents / faculty / advisor be notified?
- Will this incident appear on my transcript or academic record?
- If the violation also involves an alleged crime, can I be prosecuted criminally and also be referred to SJACS?
- Can students be represented by legal counsel during the University judicial process?
- Can I appeal the decision of the administrative review?
I was involved in an incident and was told I had to come to SJACS/ or I received a letter from SJACS; what does this mean?
SJACS receives reports from all areas of the university community such as Residential Education staff, the Department of Public Safety, faculty and staff. Reports are reviewed in this office and if the circumstances surrounding the complaint indicate that a violation of the Student Conduct Code may have occurred, disciplinary charges will be brought against the student. Students are notified by a letter issued to them through their USC email account indicating the date and location of the incident and the need to meet with a judicial officer by a specified date.
What happens in the meeting?
When you meet with a judicial officer you will be asked about the alleged violation and given the opportunity to present any relevant information, documents, or contact information for witnesses. Honesty is important, and will be used as a factor in the decision making process. Meetings are scheduled for one hour. Please familiarize yourself with the Student Conduct Code and the review process prior to your meeting.
Please see the section titled Non-Academic violations review process or Academic Review process for a full description of the judicial process.
Can I call to find out what’s going on, or just talk to the judicial officer on the phone and explain myself?
While SJACS can answer any general process questions by telephone, privacy concerns do not allow us to discuss individual cases. You must schedule an in-person meeting to discuss the incident. Sometimes students are called in simply as a part of an ongoing investigation. Students are encouraged to call and schedule an appointment by the designated meeting date. Please note we do not schedule same day appointments.
May I see the report?
Yes. Students have the right to inspect documents and/or relevant information on file during the review. In order to maintain standards of confidentiality, personally identifiable information of other persons listed in the report will be redacted. See Student Education Records Policy in SCampus (Part C, Section 6) for complete details.
Should I bring anyone with me to the meeting?
If you choose, you may bring any support person you would like to the meeting, or have this person wait for you in the waiting room (parent, friend, or advisor). You must be willing to sign a confidentiality waiver in order to bring someone into the meeting with you. This person may take notes for you or assist in organizing documents, but may not speak for the student or interfere in the judicial process. See Advisor Guidelines for complete details. Students should not bring witnesses or involved persons to the meeting, but should bring their contact information and submit it to the judicial officer.
What happens if I choose not to schedule an appointment by the meeting date, choose not to appear for a scheduled meeting or choose not to comply with a sanction?
Why is there a hold on my account?
If you do not call and schedule an appointment or fail to appear for a scheduled appointment a hold will be placed on your records preventing you from performing any registration activities (drop/add classes, register for the next semester, etc.). The SJACS office may also make a decision in your case without the benefit of your input or perspective, if you choose not to respond.
If you fail to comply with the terms of an assigned sanction, a hold will be placed prohibiting registration transactions and an additional charge of non-compliance may be brought against you. The results of such a charge will most likely be more severe than the sanctions from the original case.
The hold will be lifted only after you have either met with the judicial officer or completed the sanction(s). Please note we do not schedule same day appointments.
What happens if I did not receive the letter I was sent?
All students are expected to check their USC email regularly and keep their mailing addresses up to date within the university system. Students may confirm or update their mailing addresses on OASIS.
Will my parents / faculty / advisor be notified?
The issue in question is between the student and the University. Your disciplinary proceedings, and the files that accompany them, are confidential and protected by university policy based on federal law. If a parent calls the SJACS office about a disciplinary matter, the parent will be referred back to the student for clarification. You can sign a confidentiality waiver with SJACS to allow non-involved parties (such as your parents, advisor, or employer) access to your disciplinary records and proceedings.
Release of records is permitted without prior consent in certain circumstances. Departments within the university who demonstrate an educational interest can request information regarding a student’s disciplinary file. Examples of valid educational interest include departments reviewing applicants for study abroad programs, and Resident Advisor applicants. Please see the University Student Records Policy in SCampus (Part C, Section 6) for complete details.
Will this incident appear on my transcript or academic record?
It depends. Most violations are not displayed on your academic record, but are maintained in a separate disciplinary record. Disciplinary files are maintained in Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards for up to seven years. At the end of the seven years this file is destroyed. However, if you are suspended, expelled, or your admission or degree is revoked, a permanent notation will appear on your academic record, and your disciplinary file is maintained indefinitely in the SJACS office. Please see the University Student Records Policy in SCampus (Part C, Section 6) for complete details.
If the violation also involves an alleged crime, can I be prosecuted criminally and also be referred to SJACS?
Yes. Students have a separate relationship to the university that is different from their responsibilities as citizens. Just as an employee who steals from his/ her employer, he or she can be fired as well as prosecuted for embezzlement and imprisoned.
Can students be represented by legal counsel during the University judicial process?
No. The judicial process at USC is an administrative process. It is not a criminal or civil proceeding. However, when criminal charges are pending or the recommended sanction is suspension or expulsion the student may have an attorney present.
Can I appeal the decision of the administrative review?
All students found responsible for a violation can submit one appeal. All appeals must be submitted in writing within 10 business days from receipt of the final decision. Appeal panels operate independently of the SJACS office and review all pertinent information submitted in written form only. The panel has the authority to uphold the original decision or dismiss the case, as well as increase or decrease the sanctions. The decisions issued by these panels are final and binding. Students will receive written notice directly from the panel regarding the decision. See the Appeals section in SCampus (Part B, Section 15) for complete information.