As part of the Settlement Agreement, USC has agreed to implement important institutional reforms to ensure the safety of the students of USC. Specific details of the reforms are available in Exhibits B and C of the Second Amended Settlement Agreement.
To that end, USC Student Health is adopting and implementing new operating and oversight procedures, including:
- USC has implemented pre-hiring background checks of all new personnel, including physicians, who are regularly expected to have direct patient interaction;
- USC has implemented annual verification of credentials of all clinical personnel, including physicians;
- USC has revised its annual education and performance reviews concerning identifying, reporting, and preventing improper sexual and/or racial conduct;
- USC has developed a booklet titled “Sensitive Health Exams,” that is now provided to all students receiving sensitive exams and used to train clinical support staff. The booklet’s contents are consistent with guidelines set forth by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Committee on Gynecologic Practice for performing sensitive exams; https://studenthealth.usc.edu/medical-care/patient-education/
- USC has hired two additional physicians to ensure adequate staffing so that all female students have the option of seeing a female physician when making an appointment; https://studenthealth.usc.edu/your-medical-providers/
- USC now provides all students accessing USC Student Health with a consent form informing them of the Settlement Agreement and the University’s commitment to patient safety, along with a brochure outlining what to expect during a visit;
- USC is developing annual training for all USC Student Health personnel who assist with Sensitive Exams on best practices for ensuring patient safety and comfort;
- USC now provides students with plain-language notice advising them how to recognize and report Sexual Harassment and Gender-Based Violence by a healthcare provider, and has posted copies of the notice in each examination room at USC Student Health; and
- USC has implemented online and offline opportunities for anonymous patient feedback concerning USC Student Health and its personnel. https://studenthealth.usc.edu/patient-feedback/
USC is also expanding its Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention program to include a new training program designed to prevent sexual misconduct and sexual assault. USC has hired three new employees to develop and conduct this training program, which will be required of all students.
Additionally, the Settlement also requires the appointment of two individuals from outside USC—an Independent Consultant and an Independent Women’s Health Advocate—who will work cooperatively with USC administrators, faculty, and student representatives to ensure that USC complies with the terms of the Settlement. If the Independent Consultant or the Independent Women’s Health Advocate believes the requirements and goals of the Settlement are not being sufficiently addressed by USC, they can raise those concerns to Class Counsel, the Special Master, and ultimately, the Court, for resolution.
Nancy Cantalupo is serving as an Independent Consultant and Task Force Member at USC. Ms. Cantalupo has extensive knowledge and experience with best practices for prevention of and response to sexual assault and misconduct on university campuses; research and authorship of 17 scholarly essays, articles, and book chapters on these subjects; and nearly 15 years as a higher education administrator, including nearly eight years directing a campus women’s resource center, six years as an academic dean, adviser, and member of the Dean’s staff for a top-15 law school, and six months as a member of the Dean’s staff at a second law school. Ms. Cantalupo also served for nine months as Associate Vice President for Equity, Inclusion & Violence Prevention at a large higher education professional association, acting as the association’s subject matter expert on gender-based violence and other civil rights issues. In 2017, Ms. Cantalupo was asked to write Standards of Practice for higher education institutions’ comprehensive prevention and responses to gender-based violence by the American Bar Association’s Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence. In her role as Independent Consultant / Task Force Member, Ms. Cantalupo has joined the USC Task Force responsible for conducting a wide-ranging climate survey of USC students as well as existing USC policies and procedures for the disclosure, reporting, and response to sexual violence on campus, and make recommendations of changes to implement in light of the survey results. The report and recommendations of the Task Force will be released publicly to the USC community. Ms. Cantalupo was selected by, and will be compensated by, Class Counsel, not USC. If you would like to contact Ms. Cantalupo, you can do so via email at USCIndependentConsultant@gmail.com.
The Parties are in the process of selecting an Independent Women’s Health Advocate, who will also work with the USC community and administration to ensure that the University complies with these reforms.