The University of South Carolina has repeatedly ignored a routine Freedom of Information Act request from The Post and Courier asking for details if student-athletes were involved in sexual assaults, sexual misconduct or Title IX violations.
The Post and Courier on March 12 asked officials at South Carolina and Clemson for documents related to student-athletes — if any — arrested or convicted of a sexual assault, sexual misconduct or a Title IX violation from Jan. 1, 2019, to March 10, 2020.
Clemson responded on March 27 saying it had no such violations.
The University of South Carolina was reminded on May 11, June 10 and July 8. A school official initially said the request would be sent through proper channels and on June 10 said USC was “waiting for the appropriate entities to identify responsive documentation” but has not responded since.
“Although the S.C. FOIA allows public bodies like USC ten business days to reply to a request for records like these Title IX violation documents, if they don’t do so then a requester like The Post and Courier here can expect to receive the records 30 days from that 10th business day,” S.C. Press Association attorney Taylor Smith said. “While the current pandemic may make it harder for public bodies to comply with these deadlines, USC’s failure to respond to three different reminders of this request over the last four months is unlawful and begs the question: what, if anything, is the college trying to hide regarding Title IX violations?”
The Post and Courier has regularly sought Title IX and sex assault information from USC, Clemson and other schools. USC in recent years has been compliant with FOIA requests regarding the athletic department, including such topics as concussions and dietary supplements.
Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments Act states that men and women must receive equal treatment and opportunities within public and private athletic departments. Both the Department of Education and the U.S. Supreme Court have found that sexual harassment is a form of sexual discrimination prohibited by Title IX.