The Alcorn State University School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, which includes Cooperative Extension, Civil Rights/Equal Opportunity Program has its legal basis in nine federal laws:
- Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008
- Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title VI
- Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title VII
- Civil Rights Act of 1991
- Title XI, Education Amendments of 1972
- The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Titles I and V
- Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
- Limited English Proficiency - Executive Order 13166
The School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences provides for the design of efforts to ensure that extension offers its programs to all eligible people.
For more resources and important links, go to the Resources and Important Links page.
- The Public Notification Plan
- Non-Discrimination Statement
- The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Notice
- Compliant Procedure
- All Reasonable Efforts
- Program Civil Rights Compliance Reviews
- Federal Program Discrimination Complaints
- University Employee Complaints Procedure
The Alcorn State University School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, which includes Cooperative Extension, Public Notification Plan is the process by which the public is advised of programs, the requirements for non-discrimination, and the availability of reasonable accommodations for those needing them. The elements of the plan are as follows:
- Display of the “And Justice for All” poster.
- Use of the University’s non-discrimination statement in letters, newsletters and publications.
- Use of the University’s Americans with Disabilities Act notice about accommodations on forms, applications, program announcements and brochures
- Establishment of outreach programs at the local level to ensure that all persons, especially those who previously may not have participated fully, know about the availability of and effective use of United States Department of Agriculture program services, and are encouraged to participate.
- Informing organizations and groups with which Cooperative Extension cooperates of our non-discrimination provisions.
- Use of non-sexist language and non-discriminatory language, photos and graphics to convey the message of equal opportunity in all programming.
To be included in bulletins, announcements, publications, catalogs, application forms, other recruitment materials, or other publications that are made available to students, employees, applicants or participants. If you are actively seeking participation in a workshop or event, please add the Americans with Disabilities Act statement below:
Alcorn State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, or other factors prohibited by law in any of its educational programs, activities, services, admissions, or employment practices.
The following civil rights notification can be used on postcards and may be appropriate for posters and displays. Generally, if a poster/display is informational, you may use the one line statement below. If the poster/display is intended to encourage a person to enroll in a program, use the short form non-discrimination statement and Americans with Disabilities Act statement above:
Alcorn State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.
When actively seeking participation in a workshop or event use the short form statement and the ADA notice:
If you are a person with a disability and need an accommodation to participate in this program, please call [insert name of person to contact at sponsoring unit here] at [insert telephone number or other contact information here] to discuss your needs. Receiving requests for accommodations at least 3-5 days before the program provides a reasonable amount of time to meet the request, however, all requests will be considered.
- It is important to remember that Cooperative Extension cannot refuse to accommodate someone if the request is reasonable. Requests may include large print, materials in another language, a sign language interpreter, etc. Please document all accommodations made in the local civil rights file.
- It is also important not to make assumptions about needed accommodations. Remember that the person with the disability probably has the most information about what is needed for an accommodation. Most requests are generally modest; often they simply involve using ingenuity. Have a dialogue with the person needing the accommodation to find out what he or she thinks will work the best.
- Each office should keep a log book of requests for accommodations. Record the date and time of the request, what response was given to the request and the result.
- Cooperative Extension employees cannot refuse a request for an accommodation. Refusal to provide an accommodation is an institutional decision that must originate from the Office of Human Resources. If a situation arises where agreement cannot be reached on what constitutes a reasonable accommodation, it is important to contact 601.877.6188 immediately. Refusal to provide reasonable accommodation may constitute illegal disability discrimination and create legal liability for Cooperative Extension and Alcorn State University.
Alcorn State University School of AREAS has two complaint procedures available for clientele use:
- The first is listed on the “And Justice for All” poster. This involves direct written communication with the secretary of agriculture.
- The second procedure is to contact the designated university offices to handle inquires and/or complaints regarding non-discriminatory policies and procedures of Alcorn State University: complaints, inquiries, or specific requests in regard to Title IX and Section 504 directives should be made to the Director of Educational Equity and Inclusion/Title IX Coordinator, LLJuna Weir, Walter Washington Administration Bldg., Room 519A, Lorman, MS, 39096, (601) 877-6700. Complaints, inquiries, or requests in regard to non-discrimination in employment practices should be made to the Director of Human Resources, Carla Williams, PHR, SHRM-CP, Walter Washington Administration Bldg., Room 107, Lorman, MS, 39096, (601) 877-6188. Questions, complaints, or requests in regard to Americans with Disabilities Act/Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act compliance in employment practices should also be made to the department of human resources.
Cooperative Extension employees must ensure that all reasonable efforts is made to reach out to involve minorities and clientele with disabilities in Cooperative Extension programs and to properly record the effort. In addition to providing the notices above, the following activities are regarded as a minimum effort:
- All new Extension advisory council committee members, new employees, and all new volunteer leaders must be oriented to Cooperative Extension’s Civil Rights/Equal Employment Opportunity (CR/EEO) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) responsibilities.
- Cooperative Extension staff should review minority data concerning their area and should plan/evaluate steps to assure that “all reasonable effort” is achieved. Give particular emphasis to information related to total population by race, agriculturally-related data by race and sex, types of enterprises generating economic activity and indications of individual and family well-being. The Department of Justice has indicated that “all reasonable effort” is fulfilled when there is: a) extensive use of mass media; b) personal telephone calls or written communication to potential minority or handicapped clientele; and c) personal contact by county staff members with a representative number of potential recipients.
- County/specialist unit plans of work should reflect special efforts that will be planned for the purpose of reaching minority and handicapped clientele.
- Program announcements and brochures should state that the program is open to the public regardless of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, including transgender status or gender expression, national origin or citizenship status, age, disability or veteran status, and that Cooperative Extension provides, upon request, reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals. Printed material that actively seeks members, participants or beneficiaries of Cooperative Extension services, programs or activities must contain a version of the non-discrimination statement. “And Justice for All” poster should be posted prominently at all offices, summer camps and major function rooms.
- All new homemaker groups and 4-H clubs should clearly delineate the geographic boundaries of their units. Established groups and clubs are encouraged to delineate their boundaries.
- The USDA requires us to annually have a representative of a group we work with on an ongoing basis (e.g., county Extension homemaker groups, 4-H Leaders Association or 4-H club, agricultural producers group, master gardeners, etc.) sign a statement stating that the group or any of its members will not discriminate against any individual who wants to use Extension’s services. The signed statement is to be annually updated and kept in your office civil rights file. Failure for group representatives to annually sign the statement may result in Cooperative Extension’s inability to serve that group according to USDA civil rights policy. Extension volunteers, in their orientation to Extension and as part of any volunteer training they receive, are expected to comply with Alcorn’s non-discrimination statement as representatives of the University in the community. Should you have any questions about the statements or procedures for ensuring Extension volunteer group compliance with federal and Alcorn non-discrimination policies, please contact your supervisor. Our intent is to work with community groups whose membership and educational activities are open to anyone without discrimination based on the criteria outlined in the USDA and university statements. The non-discrimination statement is to be signed annually and kept in the county office civil rights file.
- County staff should periodically check with local USDA offices to obtain names of minority farmers or land owners. Similar checks are made with other agencies to obtain potential minority clientele.
- Minutes of meetings in which CR/EEO efforts/training may be recorded should be kept, i.e., staff meetings, executive committee meetings and all advisory committee meetings, in the office civil rights file.
- Each county/specialist unit should maintain a CR/EEO file for filing related regulations/notices, etc. and for each employee to record contacts and CR/EEO happenings. The county level civil rights files should include contents in accordance with the prescribed civil rights checklist. When collecting contact demographic data, please utilize program forms such as the event registration form, which should include all appropriate demographic data. In some cases, clients have the option not to complete the form in its entirety, the program staff member may augment the demographic data collected through their visual inspection of the attendees. The registration form lists the basic civil rights categories requested by our federal partners and may be tailored to include other groups covered by the non-discrimination policy. The civil rights file should be kept up-to-date, and all pertinent information logged locally as well as in the planning and reporting systems. The log of accommodation requests and accommodations provided should be kept in the local civil rights file as well. Accommodations can be anything the programmer did to assist an attendee to fully participate given some limitation they were experiencing. When in doubt it is better to record what was done than to determine it was not meaningful or significant.
- CR/EEO success stories should be reported to Carolyn Banks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 601.877.6260 to meet the February 15, June 15 and October 15 reporting deadlines.
- Cooperative Extension offices should maintain a procedure for handling alleged discrimination. Each employee should be familiar with the complaint procedure, and be able to handle a complaint promptly and courteously.
- County civil rights coordinators should periodically review with all employees Cooperative Extension responsibilities for CR/EEO requirements under the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972, Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act of 1973, all as amended, and under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
- Internal reviews of Extension’s county and campus units will take place annually with each office to be reviewed at least every three years or sooner as determined by Extension’s civil rights officer.
- Staff who do not comply with Cooperative Extension’s civil rights expectations may be subject to disciplinary procedures.
Civil Rights Compliance Reviews are the heart of the system of determining how well benefits and services are delivered by National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) recipients in compliance with Title VI. The reviews are made to make recommendations for policy changes and to improve program delivery to all. NIFA ensures that state land-grant university partners (for their research and extension programs) comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 , which prohibits discrimination in federally-assisted programs, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 , which prohibits discrimination in federal employment practices. Onsite compliance reviews are conducted annually in approximately 10 states, including 40 Extension counties and state Extension offices. The Civil Rights Compliance Reviews produce information needed for NIFA to submit civil rights reports to NIFA administration and USDA on a regular basis. NIFA also manages complaints filed by citizens who believe they have been discriminated against based on Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the application of state programs funded by NIFA.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination against its customers. If you believe you experienced discrimination when obtaining services from USDA, participating in a USDA program, or participating in a program that receives financial assistance from USDA, you may file a complaint with USDA.Information about how to file a discrimination complaint is available at the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.
The University recognizes the right of employees to express their complaints and to seek resolution concerning disagreements arising from working relationships, working conditions, employment practices or differences in interpretation of policy that might arise between the University and its employees.
An employee may, within the prescribed time limits, file a complaint through the University Complaint Procedure or the appropriate Collective Bargaining Agreement that covers the employee's position classification.
Please complete this form to file a harassment and discrimination compliant with the university: Discrimination/Harassment Complaint Form
Also, there is a regular compliant form that can be completed: Complaint Form
For additional information concerning diversity at Alcorn State University, please utilize the links below: