UC San Diego alters handling of harassment issues

The University of California, San Diego has agreed to overhaul practices for handling complaints of racial harassment after a series of campus incidents that targeted black people two years ago, officials said Friday.

Under the plan, the school will operate an Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination, require training for students and staff, and revise policies and procedures to ensure consistency with federal law, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education said.

The federal government demanded changes after nooses and a Ku Klux Klan-style hood were found on campus in 2010, and students at an off-campus party dressed in costumes that mocked Black History Month.

The federal agencies extensively investigated the 2010 incidents and fielded additional complaints of racial discrimination and harassment. Officials praised the university for voluntarily accepting a series of measures to improve the campus climate.

"UCSD, like all colleges and universities, has an obligation to make clear that racial discrimination and harassment on campus will not be tolerated, and this agreement is a significant step in the right direction," said Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the civil rights division.

UC San Diego said it has already taken several steps, including creation of the office to prevent harassment.

"We will move forward with the terms outlined in the resolution agreement and will continue to work together to achieve our shared goal of an open, welcoming and supportive campus for people from all backgrounds," the school said in a statement.

Black students comprise about 2 percent of UC San Diego's 23,000 undergraduates.