SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – An investigation led by the U.S. Department of Education has revealed that Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) discriminated against a pregnant student.

The complaint was filed on August 22, 2021, and alleged that a college professor encouraged the student to drop a course because she was pregnant. The professor allegedly told her that she needed to “accept responsibility for her pregnancy.”

Officials say the college did not engage in an interactive process with the woman to provide her with academic adjustments or related services during her pregnancy in the same manner that the college provides to students with temporary medical conditions.

The investigation determined that SLCC did not excuse the woman’s pregnancy-related absences and did not allow her to submit her work after pregnancy-related absences.

Under Title IX of the education amendments, which is enforced by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), colleges cannot discriminate based on sex in any education program or activity operated by a recipient of federal financial assistance from the Department.

The OCR also has a section that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs and activities operated by recipients of Federal financial assistance, for which SLCC is a recipient.

In a statement, SLCC said:

“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.”

As part of the resolution agreement, SLCC must revise its nondiscrimination statement to remain consistent with Title IX regulation.