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Highland Community College Enters Beneficial Settlement Agreementpublished August 28, 2023
Highland Community College today announced that it finalized discussions with the Department of Justice Civil Rights Educational Opportunities Section in connection with a mutually beneficial settlement agreement to ensure all students, regardless of race, have access to equal and fair opportunities. The collaborative efforts to reach an agreement with the Educational Opportunities Section included, but were not limited to, providing access to voluminous materials for review and consideration, providing a personalized tour of campus facilities and the greater Highland, Kansas community, sharing staff and administrator viewpoints on improvements that showcase community climate, and multiple in-depth discussions regarding continuing efforts to provide the best environment possible for the HCC student body.
“Our student body is the most important part of the Highland Community College experience. We want to ensure that all students feel welcome to learn, develop, and thrive as they take important steps in their educational journey. Many of the faculty, staff, and Board Members have deep connections to the College and want to pass along that same joy of community to the students. We recognize there is always room for improvement and so we welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with the Educational Opportunities Section in the future,” said President Fox.
In furtherance of that commitment, the College worked proactively with the Department of Justice Civil Rights Educational Opportunities Section to identify future benchmarks that will strengthen the College’s policies and procedures, which included best practices within Student Conduct and Housing policies, Campus Security Policies, development of focus groups, and the improvement of reporting metrics. The goal for both parties was clear: enhance campus culture for the betterment of the entire community. The College has also committed additional resources to support that effort, including a commitment to develop three new administrative roles and retention of outside expert consultants to help foster change, track progress, and sustain growth.
“Involving outside experts in our process will provide us with valuable training for all staff and faculty so that we can be responsive to student concerns and take prompt action on any incidents that may be a potential issue,” said President Fox.
The Department of Justice Civil Rights Educational Opportunities Section shared “the College and the United States have worked together to reach a voluntary resolution that memorializes these commitments and charts a path to attain these goals and meaningfully improve the experiences of Black students on campus.”
Highland Community College acknowledges the Educational Opportunities Section’s expertise and resources in these areas and appreciates the opportunity to work cooperatively towards a future that is welcoming and inclusive for students of all races and nationalities.