Justice Department Reaches Settlement with University of South Carolina to Ensure Students Are Free from Harassment
WASHINGTON – The Justice Department reached a settlement agreement with the University of South Carolina to resolve an investigation into the university’s policies and procedures related to discrimination and harassment.
After receiving a report of race discrimination on campus, the department examined the university’s policies and practices related to the handling of complaints of discrimination and harassment. Federal civil rights laws require public institutions to appropriately address and respond to such complaints. To meet this federal standard, the university agreed to improve its policies and practices for receiving, investigating and resolving complaints of discrimination and harassment. The settlement agreement will ensure that students, faculty and administrators understand and are trained on their responsibilities under the university’s policies, including 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. In order to ensure ongoing compliance with its revised policies, the university also will train select administrators, faculty and students to lead future trainings on campus. The settlement provides that the university will adopt revised anti-discrimination and harassment policies before the start of the 2011-12 school year and will initiate training during the spring 2012 semester.
"Public institutions of higher education must ensure that their students are not denied equal access to educational opportunities," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "Public institutions must adopt policies and procedures that allow them to identify and respond to allegations of discrimination and harassment in a reasonable, timely and effective manner. 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."
The enforcement of Title IV is a top priority of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is available on its website at www.justice.gov/crt .