Regulation - Racial Incidents at Educational Institutions

Federal Statute and Guidelines on Handling Racial Incidents at Educational Institutions

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is enforced by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights issued guidelines for educational institutions receiving federal assistance to follow in handling "Racial Incidents and Harassment Against Students at Educational Institutions." These guidelines clarify conduct that violates Title VI:

"Under Title VI of Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) and its implementing regulations, no individual may be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination on the ground of race, color or national origin under any program or activity that receives federal funds. Racially based conduct that has such an effect and that consists of different treatment of students on the basis of race by agents or employees, acting within the scope of their official duties, violates Title VI. In addition, the existence of a racially hostile environment that is created, encouraged, accepted, tolerated or left uncorrected ... also constitutes different treatment on the basis of race in violation of Title VI."

These same Title VI guidelines further define a "racially hostile environment" as harassing conduct (e.g. physical, verbal, graphic or written) that is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent so as to interfere with or limit the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or privileges provided.