Types of Violations

The following are examples of violations of these and other university standards.


  1. The submission of material authored by another person but represented as the student’s own work, whether that material is paraphrased or copied in verbatim or near-verbatim form.
  2. The submission of material subjected to editorial revision by another person that results in substantive changes in content or major alteration of writing style.
  3. Improper acknowledgment of sources in essays or papers.

Note: Culpability is not diminished when plagiarism occurs in drafts which are not the final version. Also, if any material is prepared or submitted by another person on the student’s behalf, the student is expected to proofread the results and is responsible for all particulars of the final draft.


  1. Acquisition of term papers or other assignments from any source and the subsequent presentation of those materials as the student’s own work, or providing term papers or assignments that another student submits as his/her own work.
  2. Distribution or use of notes or recordings based on university classes or lectures without the express permission of the instructor for purposes other than individual or group study. This includes, but is not limited to, providing materials for distribution by services publishing class notes. This restriction on unauthorized use applies to all information distributed or in any way displayed for use in relationship to the class, whether obtained in class, via email, on the Internet or via any other media.


  1. Any use of external assistance in the completion of academic assignment and/or during an examination shall be considered academically dishonest unless expressly permitted by the instructor. The following are considered unacceptable examination behaviors: communicating with fellow students during an exam, copying material from another student’s exam; allowing another student to copy from an exam; possession or use of unauthorized notes, calculator, or other materials during exams and/or any behavior that defeats the intent of an exam or other classwork; and unauthorized removal of exam materials.
  2. Submission of altered work after grading shall be considered academically dishonest, including but not limited to changing answers after an exam or assignment has been returned or submitting another’s exam as one’s own to gain credit.


  1. Obtaining for oneself or providing for another person a solution to homework, a project or other assignments, or a copy of an exam or exam key without the knowledge and expressed consent of the instructor.
  2. Unauthorized collaboration on a project, homework or other assignment. Collaboration between students will be considered unauthorized unless expressly part of the assignment in question or expressly permitted by the instructor.


  1. Attempting to benefit from the work of another or attempting to hinder the work of another student.
  2. Any act which may jeopardize another student’s academic standing.


Using an essay, term paper or project in more than one course without permission of the instructors of the courses.


Falsification, alteration or misrepresentation of official or unofficial records or documents including but not limited to academic transcripts, academic documentation, letters of recommendation, and admissions applications or related documents.


Taking a course, any course work or exam for another student or allowing another individual to take a course, course work, a portion of a course or exam in one’s stead.


  1. Using university computer, network and word processing systems to gain access, alter and/or use unauthorized information.
  2. Misuse of university computer systems or access to those systems as articulated by the university’s Computing Policies (including improper downloading of material, see here).


Fabrication: Submitting material for lab assignments, class projects or other assignments which is wholly or partially falsified, invented or otherwise does not represent work accomplished or undertaken by the student.


Any act which gains or is intended to gain an unfair academic advantage may be considered an act of academic dishonesty.


Dishonesty, such as furnishing false information to any university official, faculty member or office. This includes, but is not limited to, furnishing false information in academic petitions or requests, financial aid documents, student employment documents, financial statements or other documents or intentionally evading university officials and/or obligations to the university.


Conducting oneself in a manner that endangers the health or safety of oneself, other members or visitors within the university community or at university sponsored or related events.


Unauthorized entry, presence in or use of university premises, facilities or property.


  1. Forgery, unauthorized alteration or unauthorized use of any university document, records, keys or instruments of identification, or of documents or records related to functions of the university.
  2. Unauthorized presentation of oneself as a representative of the university for the purpose of gaining or attempting to gain privilege, convenience, goods or services.
  3. Possession, manufacture or distribution of false or altered instruments of identification within the university community.


Theft (or attempted theft) of property or of services within the university community; possession of stolen property regardless of origin; or misappropriation of university resources.


  1. Causing physical harm to any person in the university community or at university-sponsored activities.
  2. Causing reasonable apprehension of harm to any person in the university community or at university-sponsored activities.

Note: Self-defense is that which reasonably appears necessary, in view of all the circumstances of the case, to prevent injury and remove oneself from the situation.


Destroying, damaging or defacing the property of others, whether in the university community or at university-sponsored activities or assignments.


Behavior which disrupts or interferes with normal university or university-sponsored activities, including, but not limited to, study, teaching, research, officially invited speakers, university administration, public safety, or fire, police or emergency services or other authorized activity. 


Failure to comply with directions of university officials acting in the performance of their duties while in the university community or at university-sponsored activities, or resisting or obstructing such university officials in the performance of their duties, including failure to carry and/or provide upon request appropriate USC student identification.


Unauthorized use, possession or dissemination of alcohol in the university community or at university-sponsored activities. 


Use, possession or dissemination of illegal drugs or drug-related paraphernalia in the university community or at university-sponsored activities. 


Behavior which disrupts or interferes with the freedom of expression of others in the university community or at university-sponsored activities. 


Participation in or promotion of a disturbance of the peace or unlawful assembly in the university community or at university-sponsored activities as well as violating published USC guidelines regarding amplification equipment and noise.


  1. Engaging in disorderly conduct or lewd, indecent or obscene behavior in the university community or at university-sponsored activities.
  2. Encouraging or permitting others to engage in misconduct prohibited within the university community. Failing to confront and prevent the misconduct, notify an appropriate university official of the misconduct, or remove oneself from the situation.


Initiating or causing to be initiated any false report, warning or threat, such as that of fire, explosion or other emergency in the university community or at university-sponsored activities.


  1. Misusing or damaging fire safety equipment or other emergency equipment in the university community or at university-sponsored activities.
  2. Failure to evacuate during a fire alarm, whether the alarm is activated falsely, as a drill, or in a genuine emergency.


  1. Unauthorized use or possession of firearms or replicas, ammunition, explosives, knives, flammable substances or other weapons in the university community or at university-sponsored events.
  2. Unauthorized use or possession of fireworks in the university community or at university-sponsored events.


Violating rules and regulations pertaining to the operation of bicycles, mopeds and/or vehicles, roller skates, rollerblades, scooters and skateboards in the university community property. 


Knowingly violating the terms of any disciplinary sanction imposed in accordance with the Student Conduct Code. This includes further violations during a period of disciplinary probation.


  1. Violating regulations or policies governing residence in university owned or administered property (e.g., rules outlined in the TrojanHousing Contract and Residential Education policies).
  2. Violating standards or policies established for social greek letter organizations, including but not limited to the Greek Recognition Standards.
  3. Violating any policies, rules or regulations of the university including but not limited to administrative rules of campus offices.
  4. Violating the University Policy Concerning Group Responsibility for Student Organizations (including social greek letter organizations). This policy can be found in SCampus or from the Office for Fraternity and Sorority Leadership Development and in the Office of Campus Activities.


Comments or actions which are individually directed and which are harassing, intimidating or threatening or interfere with work or learning. 


Any act chargeable as a violation of local, state or federal law may be cited as a violation of the University Student Conduct Code, whether or not charges are brought by civil authorities, when such act(s) occur on university premises, or at university sponsored activities or events, or when such conduct adversely affects the university community and/or the pursuit of its objectives.


  1. Sexual misconduct. Engaging in non-consensual sexual conduct or lewd, indecent or obscene behavior, which is sexual in nature, within the university community or at university-sponsored activities.
  2. Sexual assault. Non-consensual actual or attempted intercourse, sexual touching, fondling and/or groping.
  3. Rape. A sexual assault is classified as rape when vaginal, anal or oral penetration takes place without the consent of the person penetrated.

Students should understand that the following circumstances apply to any of the above listed standards or any other kind of sexual assault by an individual student or in concert with others:

  • Forced sexual activity and behavior which is not consensual is defined as sexual misconduct or assault whether the assailant is a stranger or an acquaintance of the complainant;
  • Intoxication of the accused does not diminish his/her responsibility for a sexual misconduct or assault;
  • In situations where the complainant is incapable of giving consent, which includes but is not limited to when the complainant is prevented from resisting due to consumption of alcohol or drugs, the accused is responsible for misconduct if the accused sexually assaults the complainant. 


Engaging in behavior prohibited by the University Policy Against Hazing.


Any act that intimidates or threatens a student, staff or faculty member because of his/her intent to file, filing or proceeding with a police, USC Department of Public Safety or Student Conduct incident report or review.

Note: Culpability is not diminished for acts in violation of this code that are committed under the influence of any illegal drugs or controlled substances such as alcohol.

Here is a list of violations faculty may encounter. For more information on all USC policies please visit the USC Policies and Governance webpage.

Published on December 16th, 2016

Last updated on December 27th, 2022