The Daily Gamecock

Caslen announces changes to university's sexual assault, harassment response

<p>President Bob Caslen speaks during his first State of the University address. This is Caslen's second year as president.</p>
President Bob Caslen speaks during his first State of the University address. This is Caslen's second year as president.

USC will be making changes to the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP) and its Title IX department in an effort to improve its handling of cases of sexual harassment, according to an email sent by university President Bob Caslen.

These changes come on the heels of reporting by The State detailing reported cases of sexual assault and harassment at USC and the university's failure to handle the cases and protect faculty and students.

In the email, Caslen said USC will continue the recently established Title IX Interpersonal Violence (IPV) workgroup. This workgroup meets monthly to review pending cases of interpersonal violence on campus.

Caslen also said he plans to separate the duties of the EOP director and Title IX coordinator by establishing an independent Title IX coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will oversee a Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct and Interpersonal Violence Office that will report directly to Caslen. 

The role of Title IX Coordinator will be temporarily filled by the dean of students, Marc Shook. The university will begin a national search to fill the role of Title IX Coordinator immediately.

The university is also actively searching for a new EOP director. Carl Wells is the current interim director for the EOP.  The university will also review the appeals process for EOP investigations.

There will also be a Sexual Misconduct and Interpersonal Violence Comprehensive Review made up of faculty, administration and student leadership. It will have 45 days to review the university's "process, policy, training, historic activity, capacity and effectiveness."

A Case Review Committee has been established. This committee is made up of university experts who will review every EOP and Title IX office case before the issuing of a determination.

"At the university, we have a multifaceted process in place to address these issues [of sexual assault and harassment and interpersonal violence], including education for all UofSC employees, how survivors can make reports, how claims are investigated and the ongoing support we offer to members of our community. However, it is clear we can, and must, do more," Caslen wrote in the email.


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