In a follow-up memo sent out on Friday that addressed USC and law enforcement’s investigation of allegations against a USC graduate student, Provost Michael Quick announced on Sunday that the student will not be on campus during the investigation.
Quick acknowledged USC’s commitment to free speech, but he emphasized that the University does not tolerate threatening behavior or any act that would jeopardize campus safety. Quick wrote that even if the investigation concludes that the allegation is free and protected speech, it has had a negative impact.
“Hate speech, by nature, is dehumanizing, degrading, toxic, and vile, and it leaves people feeling unsafe, unheard, afraid, and anxious,” Quick wrote. “I want to reassure you that we are constantly and rigorously managing, assessing, and mitigating threat.”
According to the memo, members of the USC community have shared their concerns with Quick not that the allegations affect the academic and business processes of the University and its emotional climate.
Quick emphasized the University’s focus on student safety and security. He wrote that in the past year, USC’s Chief Threat Assessment Officer and threat assessment team have worked with the USC Department of Public Safety and consulted the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the Los Angeles Police Department’s Threat Management Unit to develop new threat assessment resources and protocols.
Quick encouraged anyone who witnesses incidents of hate speech or other issues of discrimination on USC campuses to report them.
Last Friday, Quick sent out a memo informing the USC community that the Department of Public Safety and USC’s chief threat assessment officer are working with local and federal law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety of the community.
Quick wrote that the University is still grappling to properly balance free speech and public safety, along with issues of diversity and inclusion.
In the memo, he said USC and other American universities are working to distinguish hate speech from hate crime, and balancing the principles of free speech with campus safety. He added that USC is reaching out to leaders in the Academic Senate, Staff Assembly, Graduate Student Government and Undergraduate Student Government to address this.
He acknowledged the negative effects of hate speech on campus and encouraged the University community to turn to on-campus resources, including confidential counseling and pastoral resources.
Quick wrote that, as provost, he has pushed the USC community to find solutions to issues of bias and discrimination to create a more inclusive environment for everyone.
“Bias and discrimination are ‘wicked problems’ that negatively impact us as a diverse community of scholars, artists, and athletes,” Quick wrote. “But free speech also empowers us as a university to be an extraordinary incubator that translates our research into action and policy, so that we can proactively be part of a solution to the many crises we face today.”