In furthering its dedication to preventing and responding to all forms of discrimination, USC is expanding its equity efforts in the university’s medical enterprise.
As part of a new, university-wide policy on prohibited discrimination, harassment and retaliation, the university created the Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity, and Title IX (EEO-TIX). The office was founded to address harassment, discrimination and retaliation; advance equal opportunity; and ensure that all university entities are complying with the policy and supporting an inclusive environment. This new office also supports and centralizes ongoing prevention, education and training across the university.
The next step: a new role for Nicoli Richardson as deputy equity, equality opportunity and Title IX coordinator focused on health care. Richardson was a senior investigator in USC’s former Office of Equity and Diversity after working for more than a decade as an attorney with experience in the medical and health care fields. She’ll focus on complying with federal, state and local anti-discrimination laws.
It’s a great fit, she says, one that combines her skills and experience at USC.
“This is the area that I thrive in and that I like working in, so combining my experience in the EEO office so far with over a decade of experience — this is a position that’s sort of uniquely carved out for me,” she said.
Richardson will also be a key resource for all of the university’s medical entities.
“Within the Keck medical enterprises, she will serve as an important partner to help address the intersection of issues related to the medical standard of care and potential discrimination or harassment under Title IX,” said Rodney B. Hanners, interim chief executive officer for Keck Medicine.
Nicoli Richardson’s new role goes hand in hand with USC’s unifying values
The moves come at a time of change and progress for the university. Last year, President Carol L. Folt invited the USC community to participate in a “culture journey,” in which more than 24,000 members of the Trojan Family took the USC Values Poll or participated in culture sessions. That helped identify six unifying values to guide the university:
- Diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Open communications.
Felicia Washington, USC’s senior vice president for human resources, said Richardson’s background will help ensure prompt and equitable investigations and resolutions related to sexual harassment and discrimination and other protected classes. Richardson will also help implement policies that meet federal and state compliance obligations.
“We are pleased to welcome Nicoli Richardson as USC’s first deputy EEO-Title IX coordinator specifically dedicated to the integration and coordination of Title IX responsibilities between the university and Keck medical enterprises,” Washington said.
For the last roughly six months before starting her new role in early November, Richardson served as the interim Affordable Care Act coordinator for the Keck enterprises. That’s why this is such an ideal match, said Catherine Spear, USC’s new vice president for equity, equal opportunity and Title IX.
“We’re very excited to have Nicoli be in this inaugural position because of her subject matter expertise, her background in health care-related matters, her passion, commitment and her engaging personality,” Spear said. “She’s very collaborative in nature and seeks to build bridges across communities, and I think that will suit her well as she builds out what this position will be and how it can best serve the entire university.”
— Grayson Schmidt