Department of Education investigation into Mercer University still ongoing

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Department of Education investigation into Mercer University still ongoing

Graphic designed by Marianna Bacallao.

Graphic designed by Marianna Bacallao.

Graphic designed by Marianna Bacallao.

Graphic designed by Marianna Bacallao.

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Mercer University is still under investigation by the Department of Education under its Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in Atlanta for an alleged act of discrimination on the basis of age.

A student on Mercer’s Atlanta campus filed a report Jan. 10, 2017 that said a professor refused to give her an extension on a final paper, despite handbook guidelines that allowed him to do so, for discriminatory reasons.

According to a report provided to The Cluster by OCR Attorney Kokayi Issa, the investigation began May 2018.

“The Complainant alleges that the University discriminated against her on the bases of race, disability, sex and age, and retaliated against her,” the report said.

The student said a professor gave her a failing grade and said in her complaint that the professor failed her rather than extended her deadline “in retaliation.”

The report did not specify what the University is accused of retaliating against.

Kyle Sears, director of media relations at Mercer University, confirmed in an emailed statement that the investigation is ongoing.

“The investigation began with a discrimination complaint filed by a former graduate student on the Atlanta campus,” Sears said. “The University has provided a written response to OCR indicating that there is no evidence to support the student’s complaint.”

OCR is a subagency of the Department of Education that holds schools accountable for abiding by civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, sex, ability, age and other factors.

OCR’s role in the investigation is to determine whether the university retaliated and discriminated against the student based on race, disability, sex and age, as well as whether the professor failed her by refusing to accept the final grade.

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