Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 55.42
Liaison Darcy Everett
Submission Date Feb. 18, 2020

STARS v2.2

College of Charleston
PA-7: Support for Underrepresented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 3.00 P Brian Fisher
CSO/Executive Director
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a publicly posted non-discrimination statement? :

The non-discrimination statement, including the website URL where the policy is publicly accessible:

The College of Charleston is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veterans’ status, genetic information, disability or other category protected by applicable law in its educational programs and activities, employment or admissions. The College of Charleston also prohibits retaliation against any person for bringing a complaint of discrimination or for participating in an investigation of a complaint of discrimination.

More information on the College's non-discrimination statement can be found at https://marcomm.cofc.edu/brandmanual/bychapter/officialstatements/os_legalstatements.php.

Does the institution have a discrimination response protocol or committee (sometimes called a bias response team)?:

A brief description of the institution’s discrimination response protocol or team:

The university's Office of Equal Opportunity Programs ensures equal opportunities for all members of the college community and seeks to eliminate discrimination and harassment. The Office of Equal Opportunity Programs also provides guidance on the College's non-discrimination policies and investigation process for faculty, staff and students. Further, the office ensures immediate response to complaints of discrimination based on age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, national origin, pregnancy, race or color, retaliation, religion, sex, sexual harassment, veteran status and uniform services by students, employees or applicants for employment or admission. The director of the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs is responsible for coordinating the grievance procedures under the Affirmative Action Program and federal equal opportunity guidelines. More information is available at http://eop.cofc.edu.

Further, the university's official policy prohibiting discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment and abuse, is available online at https://policy.cofc.edu/documents/9.1.10.pdf.

Additionally and with guidance from the College's Legal Affairs team, Executive Vice President of Student Affairs Alicia Caudill and Chief Diversity Officer Renard Harris oversee diversity initiatives and issues related to discrimination.

The President's Diversity Review Committee also supports the university's executive leadership and institutions work toward a more diverse campus by focusing on affordability, accessibility and inclusivity. This group of seven committee members and three non-voting members reviews, evaluates and makes recommendations on the College's diversity programs.

The Office of Institutional Diversity recently responded to the President's Diversity Review Committee's first set of recommendations in a full report detailing progress on multiple recommendations dating back to 2016. The complete 2019 report is available online at http://diversity.cofc.edu/drc-committee/OIDDRCreport.pdf.

For individuals who have experienced or witnessed a bias incident, act of discrimination or hate crime, the College provides multiple outlets for reporting and counseling. Both academic and non-academic staff are connected with the Office of Human Resources and its employee assistance program. Students are connected to the College's Counseling Center. The identities of individuals who report discrimination are strictly protected, and reporting individuals can also select a personal adviser from the college community to support them through the investigatory process and ahead of disciplinary or remedial actions and decisions. You can read more about the university's approach at https://policy.cofc.edu/documents/9.1.10.pdf.

University policy is often paired with a response from top leadership and President Andrew Hsu. Below, we are sharing a recent communication from him in response to an act of vandalism by a College of Charleston student on a local Islamic mosque. The below email was sent just hours before the university's Division of Student Affairs stepped in to host a solidarity community meal (serving traditional Middle Eastern cuisine) for students, faculty and staff.

A note from President Hsu, sent on February 13:

Dear Campus Community:

I am disappointed to write that we have been made aware that one of our students was arrested by Charleston Police today in connection with recent acts of vandalism at the Islamic Center of Charleston on King Street. As the investigation is continuing and out of respect for the judicial process, we will withhold judgment at this time.

That being said, the College condemns any act of aggression, hatred or disrespect toward any individual or place of worship based on religious affiliation. We teach our students the core values of respect, diversity and community and hold them accountable to these principles.

Our values are who we are as an institution and as a community. They are our promise to each other and provide valuable and necessary common ground.

Any member of our campus community who is found to be involved in such aggressive, hateful or disrespectful activity will be dealt with through the appropriate law enforcement authorities and/or in accordance with the College’s codes of conduct and institutional policies.



Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit students from underrepresented groups?:

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit academic staff from underrepresented groups?:

Does the institution have programs designed specifically to recruit non-academic staff from underrepresented groups?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to recruit students, academic staff, and/or non-academic staff from underrepresented groups:

The College and its Office of Admissions value diversity and embrace differences. Students at the College represent all 50 states, several U.S. territories and approximately 70 foreign countries. In an effort to recruit students from underrepresented groups, the Office of Admissions employs counselors who target specific high schools serving higher percentages of minority students and students from underrepresented groups. Additionally, the Office supports programs that help new students from underrepresented groups make connections and be successful in their first year at the university. These programs include AALANA Preview Day, Multicultural Overnight Visit Experience, SPECTRA Summer Transition Program, Senior and Junior Projects and ExCEL Awards and Benefit Program. More information on these diversity programs and initiatives is available at http://admissions.cofc.edu/explorethecollege/diversity/.

The College and its Division of Academic Affairs believe that fostering diversity in our campus community is essential to educating students for life in today’s global economy. An effective way to support a diverse faculty recruitment strategy is to ensure that leaders and the larger climate are supportive of diversity and inclusion.

The College hosted a Strategic Diversity in Faculty Recruitment Workshop for deans, chairs and program directors who recruit faculty. The workshop was led by Kecia Thomas, a professor of industrial-organizational psychology and associate dean of faculty leadership and development in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Georgia.

The College utilizes PeopleAdmin Talent Management System for recruitment and faculty searches are posted on venues that target underrepresented candidates, including: Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, CIC Doctoral Directory, IMDiversity, The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, the Tribal College Journal of American Indian Education, Association for Women in Science and others. The complete list of diverse job search platforms utilized by the College is online at http://academicaffairs.cofc.edu/procedures-and-practices/facultyrecruitment/index.php.

In partnership with the Office of Human Resources, the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs ensures equal employment practices and university status for all minority-status groups and individuals on campus. You can read more about its policies and initiatives at https://policy.cofc.edu/documents/9.1.11.pdf.

Additionally, departments and schools across the College help support diverse, non-academic staff recruitment. For example, the School of Sciences and Mathematics organized a Diversity Enhancement Fund. These funds are used at the discretion of the Dean to support diversity recruitment, retention, and education initiatives related to race, ethnicity, gender, culture, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, beliefs, or other ideologies depending on the need of the department. And the Office of Institutional Diversity, in tandem with the President's Diversity Review Committee, has reviewed, advised and published specific percentage goals in an effort to increase underrepresented staff recruited by the university and provides diversity training, workshops and related resources to its campus partners. You can read more at http://diversity.cofc.edu/drc-committee/OIDDRCreport.pdf.

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support, academic support, or other programs designed specifically to support students from underrepresented groups on campus?:

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support or other programs designed specifically to support academic staff from underrepresented groups on campus?:

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support or other programs to support non-academic staff from underrepresented groups on campus?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs designed specifically to support students, academic staff, and/or non-academic staff from underrepresented groups:

The Office of Institutional Diversity provides scholarships to underrepresented groups and supports the Crossing the Cistern program, which supplies scholarships and mentorship to underrepresented students. The School of Science and Mathematics spearheads the South Carolina Alliance for Minority Participation program.

The Multicultural Student Programs and Services' Mentoring Matters program is based on a collaborative model that pairs mentors such as successful returning students, faculty and staff with underrepresented freshmen. The program is designed so that mentors have the opportunity to provide curricular and co-curricular support and share skills and experiences with the newest members of the Cougar student body. The program also represents an opportunity for students of different backgrounds to learn from one another through shared experiences.

For academic and non-academic staff, the College provides a free service calls the Deer Oaks Employee Assistance Program. The program offers a wide variety of counseling, referral, and consultation services designed to assist employees and their families. Services are confidential and can be accessed around-the-clock. More information is available online at https://hr.cofc.edu/benefits/employee-assistance-program.php.

Further, the Staff Advisory Committee to the President and its Morale & Wellness Subcommittee generate initiatives that bring the campus community together. Current initiatives include staff drop-Ins, a Staff Wellness Speaker Series and the cultivation of staff Input on morale Issues.

Finally, academic and non-academic staff can utilize Safe Zone and the Gender and Sexuality Equity Center for access to events, resources, trainings and programs designed to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, allied, asexual or intersex individuals. You can learn more about their programs at http://sac.cofc.edu/resources/wellness/index.php.

Does the institution have training and development programs, teaching fellowships and/or other programs that specifically aim to support and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to support and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members:

The mission of the College's Career Center is to educate, develop and assist students to prepare for and successfully meet the challenges of an ever-changing workforce, including in the higher education space. The Center accomplishes this mission through its team of career counselors. Career counselors support students throughout their college career and offer guidance on career planning, courses of study, internships and experiential learning opportunities, interviewing, networking, applying for graduate or professional schools and searching the job market.

More information on the Career Center's initiatives can be found in its 2018-19 Annual Report, which is published online at careercenter.cofc.edu.

Does the institution produce a publicly accessible inventory of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus?:

Does the institution offer housing options to accommodate the special needs of transgender and transitioning students?:

Website URL where information about the institution’s support for underrepresented groups is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.