USC to revise racial discrimination policies after federal investigation

USC's McKissick Building (Source: University of South Carolina)
USC's McKissick Building (Source: University of South Carolina)

By Logan Smith - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The University of South Carolina will improve its policies and procedures related to racial discrimination and harassment after student complaints to the U.S. Department of Justice prompted a federal investigation.

University spokeswoman Margaret Lamb said the investigation was prompted by complaints from a student who told the Justice Department she overheard a reference to discrimination by another student. Lamb said DOJ officials asked the university to have its policies reviewed by a consultant, and the university voluntarily agreed.

"We welcome this as a way to improve our policies and procedures and to be sure that our campus community is fully informed of appropriate ways to report allegations of discrimination and harassment on campus," said Lamb.

According to the settlement, the university will adopt revised anti-discrimination and harassment policies before the start of the 2011-12 school year and will begin training administrators, faculty and students during the spring 2012 semester.

[Click here to read the complete settlement (PDF)]

The Justice Department said the agreement "will ensure that students, faculty and administrators understand ... when and how to report incidents of harassment or discrimination, and will require the university to respond to such complaints in a timely and effective manner."

"Public institutions of higher education must ensure that their students are not denied equal access to educational opportunities," said Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez. "I applaud the University of South Carolina for entering into an agreement that will communicate to students, faculty, administrators, and the public at large, that discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated on its campus."

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