Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) in Utah has been found guilty of violating the rights of a pregnant student after school authorities encouraged her to drop a course due to pregnancy, the US Department of Education ruled Tuesday.
In a scathing press release, the Education Department said the college discriminated against the student by failing to respond to her complaint against a professor who asked her to drop out of a course after she asked for academic accommodations for the time she was ill.
After she was told to “take responsibility for her pregnancy,” the student filed complaints with SLCC’s Disability Resource Center and the Title IX office — neither of which were successful.
While federal officials have not revealed how they learned of the case or when they began reviewing it, they said the school will be under review until it implements a series of improvements.
SLCC has been found guilty of violating Title IX by failing to “engage in an interactive process with the student to determine the appropriate special services and/or academic adjustments to provide in light of her pregnancy.”
The department also found that the college violated Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act — which forbids organizations from denying benefits or services to disabled individuals.
In response to the findings, the Utah college said it is voluntarily revising its non-discrimination notice, publishing resources about the Title IX rights of pregnant students, and training its Title IX coordinator and Disabilities Resource Center staff about protections for pregnant students.
“We look forward to working with Salt Lake Community College to promote a nondiscriminatory educational environment by ensuring pregnant students’ equal access to the college’s offerings,” the Department of Education’s assistant secretary for civil rights, Catherine E. Lhamon, said in a statement.