NEWS BRIEF: Lehigh enters into Voluntary Resolution Agreement with OCR

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Lehigh University has entered into a Voluntary Resolution Agreement with The Office of Civil Rights after an investigation on a complaint was issued earlier this year, according to an email sent by Interim President Kevin Clayton to the Lehigh community this morning.

The complaint alleged that Lehigh had permitted a racially hostile environment by not responding appropriately to incidents of racial harassment.

According to the official Agreement, “this agreement does not constitute an admission of liability on the part of the University and does not constitute a determination by OCR of any violation of any regulations enforced by OCR.”

The Agreement states that Lehigh has formed a partnership with the OCR to make sure that campus remains inclusive and compliant with Title VI regulations.

From this partnership, Clayton said Lehigh and OCR have created new measures to be implemented to the university, mostly focusing on training and education.

“The Agreement we have entered with OCR will build on our momentum, help us sustain our progress and will no doubt lead to a better Lehigh for all of us,“ Clayton wrote.

The new measures will make Lehigh report data to OCR on an annual basis, such as allegations of discrimination and harassment, actions taken in response and documentation of disciplinary sanctions. Lehigh will also issue an anti-discrimination statement, as well as revise the University’s Harassment Policy, which will now describe the steps to be taken after a complaint of racial harassment is filed.

The measures also focus on training students and faculty to recognize, report and address harassment on campus.  The Council for Equity and Community will serve as a forum for discussion on discrimination and harassment, as a means of educating students on the topic, and as a mean for students to suggest improvements to the university.

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