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Equal Opportunity Programs
1600 Hampton Street
Suite 805
University of South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina 29208

Phone: 803-777-3854
Fax: 803-777-2296
TDD: 803-777-5608


Bobby D. Gist
Executive Assistant to the President for Equal Opportunity Programs

Mr. Gist is responsible for planning, developing, administering and evaluating the University's equal opportunity/affirmative action policies and practices to ensure compliance with both federal and state statutes relating to non-discrimination in employment and education at USC. Mr. Gist has more than twenty (20) years of executive service with the S. C. Human Affairs Commission, a deferral agency of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Mr. Gist served as the Deputy Commissioner at the S.C. Human Affairs Commission for all compliance and enforcement as it relates to equal employment opportunity. During his tenure with the Commission, he was personally involved in the review and successful closure of more than 10,000 formal complaints of employment discrimination which were filed against public and private sector employers in the state of South Carolina. Additionally, he has done extensive training in both the public and private sector. He received his undergraduate degree from Benedict College, his masters degree from the University of South Carolina and he is a graduate of the South Carolina Executive Institute.

Bobby Gist: Photo

Rhonda Y. Edwards
Investigator, USC Office of Equal Opportunity Programs

Rhonda Yarborough Edwards joined the University of South Carolina in 1997 after working three years with the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission, the state's chief EEO investigative authority. She currently serves as an Investigator in the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs. She conducts equal employment opportunity investigations and determines whether federal or state laws and/or University policies have been violated. Rhonda is a graduate of The University of South Carolina - HRSM, Department of Retailing. An important aspect of her life is family -- her husband, Steven, and two sons, Brady and Matthew.

Rhonda Y. Edwards: Photo

Myra L. Smith
Research Administrator

Ms. Smith is responsible for ensuring that all federal and state equal opportunity/affirmative action reporting requirements for the University's eight campuses are met. This function requires coordination and liaison with federal, state, local, and university officials on all AA/EEO matters relating to statistical reporting and the analysis and interpretation of data. Ms. Smith has received the B.A.I.S. degree from USC's College of Applied Professional Sciences with cognates focusing on statistics and office administration.

Myra Smith: Photo

Pamela Lawson
Research Analyst

Ms. Lawson is responsible for the administrative and support service activities of the EOP Office and works closely with all staff. She is responsible for the compilation of reports and maintains office records. She will be responsible, as the EOP Offices' Liaison/Coordinator, for all tenure-track faculty and administrative level searches that occur and will also be responsible for limited budgetary matters. Ms. Swinford received her B.S. in Mathematics from USC and also has a minor in Education.

Pamela Lawson

Carl R. Wells, Ph.D.
Assistant Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs/Deputy Title IX Coordinator

As the Assistant Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs/Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Dr. Wells is responsible for investigating allegations of discrimination and harassment and violations of Title IX statutes and policies. Dr. Wells is also response for working with employees with disabilities (in collaboration with their employing department) to determine and coordinate reasonable accommodations. Dr. Wells has more than 18 years' experience as a trainer, facilitator, and investigator. Prior to his tenure with the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs, Dr. Wells served as the University's Director of Multicultural Student Affairs for 5 years and the Assistant Dean of Students at Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina for 6 years. Dr. Wells is also responsible for providing training and education to University search committees in regard to best practices for hiring for diversity. In addition, Dr. Wells directs the office's assessment/evaluation initiatives and chairs the University-wide Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Celebration Committee. Dr. Wells is also responsive the managing the Offices budget and coordinating campus-wide diversity education initiatives. Additionally, he often serves as consultant for both the public and private sector. He received his undergraduate degree from Winthrop University, his master's degree from Emory University and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina.

Carl R. Wells, Ph.D.

Kevin Sheppard
Student Complaint In-take Coordinator, Office of Equal Opportunity Programs

Mr. Sheppard, a graduate of the University of South Carolina, serves as the Student Intake Coordinator. He is responsible for assisting the Executive Assistant to the President for Equal Opportunity Programs as well as the Assistant Director for the EOP Office with confidential investigations and complex special assignments, while preparing and maintaining specialized records and reports as it relates to the intake of complaints or violations of Federal and State laws and University policies regarding University students. Mr. Sheppard also assists in providing training as it relates to University students on Equal Opportunity/Non-discrimination issues. Before joining the EOP Office, Mr. Sheppard was employed for over seven years in the University's Office of the General Counsel where he served in various capacities to include University Paralegal and also as Contracts Manager.

Kevin Sheppard

Nakayla S. Brown
Administrative Specialist II , Office of Equal Opportunity Programs

Ms. Brown is responsible for the administrative and support service activities for the Executive Assistant to the President for Equal Opportunity Programs and other EOP Office Staff. She is also responsible for the analysis, interpretation and reporting of EEO Data Reporting Forms as well as providing the findings for faculty and/or staff searches that have ended to departments on campus. She also helps to coordinate Illegal Harassment training sessions for the Executive Assistant to the President for Equal Opportunity Programs. Ms. Brown has received her B.A. in Sociology from USC with a minor in Social Work.

Nakayla S. Brown