USC Alumnus Gould Joins Office for Fairness, Equal Opportunity and Title IX

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USC is committed to creating a safe and supportive environment where every member of the community can learn, work, and thrive. A year ago, in response to changes to Federal Title IX regulations, the university updated its policies and procedures to ensure prompt and fair responses to reports of harassment and discrimination based on protected characteristics – including sexual harassment – involving students, faculty, staff and visitors and has committed significant resources to support effective education and the implementation of these new policies and procedures. This transformation has gathered momentum just in time for the new school year.

USC Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity and Title IX (EEO-TIX) – which restructured and merged the functions of the former Title IX office and the Equity and diversity to create an accessible and centralized office with consistent processes for resources, reports, investigations and resolutions both formal and alternative – just celebrated its first anniversary. EEO-TIX is responsible for the implementation of the university policy on the prohibition of discrimination, harassment and retaliation launched last August. The new policy provides the framework for how the university will respond to reports of prohibited conduct, provide supportive measures, and resolve formal complaints involving members of the USC community.

A cornerstone of this effort is to ensure that the university has the best team of experts from across the country to lead this charge.

The most recent addition to the team, Linda Hoos, recently joined USC as Associate Vice President for EEO-TIX and Deputy Title IX Coordinator. She will provide the general direction of the unit with particular emphasis on the basic functions of admitting and supporting and investigating and resolving EEO-TIX work related to the University Park campus.

This is an important leadership role for which Hoos is uniquely qualified. A graduate of USC Gould School of Law, Hoos has years of experience investigating and managing the types of reports processed by EEO-TIX. She previously worked in the California attorney general’s office, where she was part of a team of investigators. She then joined another government agency and oversaw employment investigations related to sexual harassment and other forms of protected class discrimination and harassment. From there, Hoos worked for the California State University system, where she served first as Title IX coordinator at the campus level and later as Director of Title IX Compliance Services at the scale. of the system. These two experiences helped Hoos develop the skills to not only be an in-depth researcher, but also know how to navigate a higher education institution.

“Linda brings an in-depth knowledge of civil rights law and policy, labor law and regulatory practices to this important work and is very experienced in higher education settings in California,” said Felicia Washington, who oversees the EEO-TIX office as senior vice president. human resources, fairness and compliance. “With the addition of Linda to the EEO-TIX team, we continue to ensure that our community will have a prompt and appropriate response to all reports of protected class discrimination, harassment and retaliation and to foster an environment where we can all learn, work and prosper.

Linda Hoos Excited to Return to USC and Help Trojans Being Harassed or Discriminated

According to Hoos, this role presents a unique chance to be at the forefront of generational change in a 140-year-old institution. She is particularly excited about USC’s decision to combine the two offices, as the move makes it easier for students, faculty and staff to know who and where to turn if they experience discrimination or harassment. based on gender, race, sexual orientation or any other protected material. to classify.

“With the arrival of President Carol Folt, Felicia Washington and Catherine Spear, and the university’s ongoing cultural journey, I felt this position offered an incredible opportunity,” Hoos said.

Hoos reports to Spear, EEO-TIX vice president and Title IX coordinator, who joined USC a year ago. Spear previously held a similar position at the University of Virginia, headed the Title IX office at Stanford University, and worked for almost 20 years with the Civil Rights Office of the United States Department of Education.

“She really ticked all the boxes and gave us a great sense of confidence that she would add a lot of value to this team,” Spear said of Hoos.

It is extremely important to make sure that someone reaching out… feels heard.

Linda hoos

With the hiring of Hoos – along with other key hires like Ray Delgado as the new Director of Communications and Marketing, Rahel Denboba as the new Coordinator of Training, Education and Prevention, and Nicoli Richardson as EEO-TIX Assistant Coordinator focused on health issues – the team is energized and ready to serve the Trojan community, Spear said.

In addition, EEO-TIX has created a new intake, outreach and care management team that Hoos will oversee. This team expands a proactive approach that’s grounded in care for everyone who contacts the office, Spear said.

“We’re almost a year old and I think what excites us the most is how Linda’s hiring reflects the culmination of these efforts,” she added.

Hoos plans to keep humanity at the center of the office by ensuring the compassionate treatment of everyone involved in the process.

“When someone asks for help at this office, whether it’s harassment or discrimination, someone comes to us feeling very helpless – feeling like their ability to control their education or career is being disrupted. for very unfair reasons, ”she said. . “So it’s extremely important to make sure that someone who is looking to fix this problem feels like they are being heard. “

What to expect from the new Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity and Title IX

What can people expect from this new office? It’s not just about filing complaints and conducting formal investigations.

EEO-TIX has the following main functions:

  • Proactive education, awareness and training to ensure that all Trojans are aware of their rights and responsibilities under the university’s policy on Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation.
  • Advisory and analytical services related to employment equity, including affirmative action planning and admissions.
  • Facilitating support resources and providing various formal and alternative resolution options to reported protected class issues.

Specifically, EEO-TIX offers a wide variety of support resources and resolution options, including access to confidential support such as counseling, academic support, workplace modifications, and housing. emergency free. For example, EEO-TIX has published a “get help” infographic on its website, as well as a sample program language that teachers can use to educate students about the EEO-TIX resources available to them.

The office also runs training sessions for anyone who requests it, from USC schools and faculty to student and staff organizations. Trainings can be tailored to a specific audience and cover a variety of topics within the remit of EEO-TIX.

Now that the university is once again welcoming students, faculty and staff in person for the fall semester, the EEO-TIX office is open for in-person visits Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to serve the horses of Troy and other members of the community. The office also remains accessible through its website.

EEO-TIX is currently located on the second floor of the Credit Union Building at USC. In Spring 2022, the office is excited to move to a centralized location on the first floor of King Hall on the University Park campus. For a more detailed description of the resources, visit their website.

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