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Salt Lake Community College cited for discrimination against pregnant student

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Posted at 11:38 AM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 18:54:14-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake Community College violated the rights of a pregnant student in violation of Title IX, according to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.

In a resolution of the student's complaint announced on Tuesday, OCR found that the college violated Title IX by failing: (1) to respond promptly and equitably to the student’s complaint of pregnancy discrimination, (2) to determine the special services or academic adjustments to provide in light of her pregnancy, and (3) to excuse her absences related to pregnancy and allow her to make up the work missed.

In addition, OCR found that the college violated the law by failing to consider whether her pregnancy caused a temporary disability requiring academic adjustments.

“We look forward to working with Salt Lake Community College to promote a nondiscriminatory educational environment by ensuring pregnant students’ equal access to the college’s offerings,” said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon.

“As we approach the 50th anniversary of Title IX next week, Salt Lake Community College’s commitments today take an important step to provide the equal access to education Congress has promised these 50 years.”

The college’s commitments in the voluntary resolution agreement include:

  • Revising its non-discrimination notice and grievance procedures to comply with Title IX.
  • Publishing information on its website for pregnant students about their Title IX rights and how to seek academic adjustments. special services, or excused absences.
  • Training its Title IX coordinator, Disabilities Resource Center staff, and other school employees regarding Title IX’s protections for pregnant students.
  • Completing and documenting its investigation of the student’s complaint of pregnancy discrimination.
  • Taking other measures to remedy the discrimination against the student.

The letter to Salt Lake Community College is available here and the resolution agreement is available here.

SLCC issued a statement in response:

"Salt Lake Community College is dedicated to creating an inclusive, welcoming environment for all students and takes all complaints regarding discrimination seriously.

"We are working with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) to address this complaint and taking concrete steps to ensure reasonable accommodations are made moving forward. These steps include strengthening internal processes related to investigating complaints, improving student access to Title IX information, and evaluating and fulfilling requests for accommodation. We will also ensure all staff and faculty are properly trained on the procedures that must be followed when working with students in need of accommodation due to pregnancy.

"We appreciate the work of the OCR in this matter, and we are committed to strengthening our processes to ensure that students are treated respectfully, with understanding, and when necessary, offered reasonable accommodations to help them succeed."