The Daily Gamecock

Streamlined reporting, improved mandatory training, more changes coming to Title IX

<p>Light streaming through the trees on Greene Street. &nbsp;</p>
Light streaming through the trees on Greene Street.  

Changes to the university's Title IX policies, including a reorganization of the office that will handle reports of sexual harassment, were announced in an email sent to the student body Wednesday by Interim University President Harris Pastides. 

The email comes after the College of Arts and Sciences announced Tuesday David Voros and Robert Richmond, two professors accused of sexual harassment, would no longer teach during the spring 2022 semester. Voros was originally slated to teach ARTS 210, 710 and 810 online only. Richmond was removed from the classroom in the spring 2021 semester. Both professors remain barred from the campus. 

"As a campus, we must reckon not only with the particular cases that are in the public eye but more broadly with the conditions that have allowed inappropriate behavior to take place and have failed to ensure full accountability," Joel Samuels said in the email announcing the removals.  

Charlotte Morrison, a third-year journalism student and a member of the Coalition to Fire David Voros, said the move to remove Voros from the classroom both excited and surprised her and the group.

"This isn't our final goal, but this is one of the goals along that path of making sure he doesn't have contact with students, but protecting students from him. That's step one, and step two is to get justice for students he's hurt in the past," Victor Ponds, a fourth-year environmental science student and member of the Coalition, said. 

The Daily Gamecock reached out to Samuels and Interim Provost Stephen Cutler via email and phone and were unable to receive comment. 

As part of the reorganization of the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX at USC, Pastides said a nationwide search for a leader for the office is underway. This person will be made Assistant Vice President and will report to the university president. The office will handle sexual harassment reports under Title IX and protected-class discrimination. 

The new office will have at least one intake and outreach coordinator, education and prevention coordinator, dedicated individuals trained "to facilitate informal resolutions" and a database manager to assist with case management, assessment and reporting. 

A mandatory Title IX training module will be made available to faculty and staff Oct. 18, "so they better understand how to recognize interpersonal violence." Refresher training will be planned for every other year starting in 2022. The Civil Rights and Title IX Office will tailor training to specific groups within the community. There is also a new form for reporting all sexual and gender-based harassment.

"The university is committed to continual improvements that will better support survivors, hold offenders accountable and empower individuals to make a difference," Pastides said.

Correction (Oct. 14, 2021, at 11:22 p.m.): Victor Ponds was incorrectly stated as being a political science student. Ponds is an environmental science student.


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