Unlawful Discrimination

Equal Opportunity

Equal Opportunity monitors the University's compliance with federal and state regulations and university policies related to Affirmative Action. The office also supports a non-discriminatory and harassment-free learning and working environment. Applicants for employment, employees and prospective and enrolled students of the university are protected against discrimination on the basis of age, race, color, religion, sex, gender, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation and genetics.

Discrimination and Harassment Incidents

Discrimination and harassment are against the law and University policy. The University enforces the equal opportunity policies which prohibit acts of discrimination against or harassment of faculty, staff and students based on:

  • Age
  • Color
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Genetics
  • National Origin
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Retaliation
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Veteran Status

Any member of the campus community with an allegation about discrimination or discriminatory harassment, based on the protected classes above, involving faculty, staff, other students, student organizations or any entity affiliated with or doing business with the University, should contact:

Sarah Gildersleeve, sarahg2@uscupstate.edu
Equal Opportunity/Interim Title IX Coordinator
150 Gramling Drive
Library, Room 220
Spartanburg SC 29303
864-503-5052

Concerns should be reported within 300 days from the date of the alleged incident(s).

Harassment Prevention and Non-Discrimination

Pursuant to Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 and other applicable state laws and University of South Carolina EOP Policy 1.01, 1.02, 1.03 and 1.04, it is illegal to harass or discriminate against any individual (faculty, staff, student or visitor) on the basis of sex. Specifically Title IX states no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

Sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence and sexual misconduct. Title IX also prohibits retaliation against an individual who, in good faith, asserts his or her rights under Title IX or other applicable federal laws and state laws prohibiting illegal discrimination. 

USC Upstate is committed to providing an environment for working, learning and living that promotes equal opportunity, inclusiveness and nondiscrimination, where students, faculty, staff and visitors are protected from any form of sex discrimination and sexual harassment, misconduct or violence. As a recipient of federal funding, USC Upstate is required by Title IX regulations to operate in a nondiscriminatory manner.

  • Programs and activities which fall under Title IX protection include:

    • Recruitment and admissions
    • Housing
    • Financial aid and scholarships
    • Hiring and retention of employees
    • Academic programs
    • Benefits and leave
    • Athletics

    Title IX also protects against sexual harassment, which includes sexual assault or violence, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, nonverbal or physical misconduct of a sexual nature. Any administrator or supervisor, including a department chair, associate dean or other administrator, or person in a position with power over a student who receives notice of a student's complaint of alleged prohibited harassment, including sexual misconduct, sexual violence, sexual assault or any other criminal behavior based upon sex or discrimination, must immediately contact the office of finance and administration. Failure to immediately report any Title IX matter may result in disciplinary action against any person (administrators, faculty or staff member) in a position of power over a student. Procedures for reporting and responding to complaints of discrimination, harassment or retaliation under Title IX can be found in the University's policy on prohibited harassment and discrimination, available at http://www.sc.edu/eop/.

  • In accordance with federal regulations, the University has designated a Title IX Coordinator responsible for the administration and implementation of USC Upstate’s Title IX compliance efforts. Complaints, concerns or inquiries related to Title IX or its application at USC Upstate can be directed to:

    Melanie Knight, melanieknight@uscupstate.edu
    Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion & Director of Special Projects
    800 University Way
    Admin Building, Room 222C
    Spartanburg SC 29303
    864-503-5991

    At the federal level, inquiries concerning the application of Title IX may be referred to the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The OCR ensures that institutions receiving federal funding comply with Title IX regulations.

  • If you feel you have been discriminated against on the basis of Title IX or subjected to sexual harassment, we strongly encourage you to tell someone. Ultimately, the choice to report is up to you. Federal and state laws prohibit retaliation against any individual who files a complaint in good faith or participates in an investigation involving alleged Title IX violations.


    If the alleged offender is a Faculty, staff member and you are a student.

    Title IX Coordinator or Director of Employee Relations and Equal Opportunity

    Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion & Director of Special Projects
    Melanie Knight, melanieknight@uscupstate.edu
    864-503-5991
    or 
    Sharon Woods, swoods@uscupstate.edu
    864-503-5354


    If the alleged offender is a Student and you are a Student .

    Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion & Director of Special Projects
    Melanie Knight, melanieknight@uscupstate.edu
    864-503-5991

    Dean of Students
    Nick Kehrwald, kehrwald@uscupstate.edu
    (864) 503-5107


    If the alleged offender is a Faculty, staff member and you are a Faculty, staff member.

    Title IX Coordinator or Director of Employee Relations and Equal Opportunity

    Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion & Director of Special Projects
    Melanie Knight, melanieknight@uscupstate.edu
    864-503-5991
    or 
    Director of Employee Relations
    Sharon Woods, swoods@uscupstate.edu
    864-503-5354


    If the alleged offender is a Vendor/Contractor for the university and you are a Member of the university community.

    Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion & Director of Special Projects
    Melanie Knight, melanieknight@uscupstate.edu
    864-503-5991


    If the alleged offender is aIf the alleged offender is a Visitor, and you are a Member of the university community.

    Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion & Director of Special Projects
    Melanie Knight, melanieknight@uscupstate.edu
    864-503-5991


Resources