Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
March 5, 1999

Racial harassment training is part of agreement with OCR

by John McCarroll

Iowa State will expand its racial harassment training programs and refine its policies and procedures, according to an agreement with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), U.S. Department of Education.

OCR conducts "partnership reviews" at educational institutions to assess policies and procedures dealing with discrimination. Iowa State and OCR signed the agreement late last month.

OCR representatives visited Iowa State April 27 to May 1, 1998. Before and during that visit, they met with students, faculty and staff. They also reviewed university policies and procedures and steps Iowa State is taking to provide a nondiscriminatory environment.

According to the agreement, Iowa State will develop and distribute a policy specifically focusing on racial harassment by June 30. The policy will cover identification, investigation and prevention of harassment based on race. Also, the university will review its complaint and grievance procedures to insure racial harassment is covered.

"The on-campus visit and our subsequent talks with OCR have helped our effort to promote a better understanding of racial harassment, and to develop the right policies and procedures to address the issue," said Carla Espinoza, assistant vice president for human resource services and director of affirmative action.

The university's current policies affirm its obligation to follow the law against discrimination on the basis of race and national origin; however, they do not specifically deal with racial harassment.

According to the Iowa State-OCR agreement, training will be provided to university faculty, staff and students on racial harassment, and a revised nondiscrimination statement will be included in certain Iowa State publications and applications. Some publications, including Inside Iowa State, began publishing the statement last year.

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