The USC smokestack rises over the Thomas Cooper library fountain on a sunny day

UofSC alumna selected to lead Title IX efforts

Following a national search, Molly Peirano, a University of South Carolina alumna who recently led Title IX engagement and education initiatives at Ohio State University, will assume the newly created position of Assistant Vice President for Civil Rights and Title IX at South Carolina.

Beginning in late February, Peirano will lead the University’s new Office of Civil Rights and Title IX, which will serve as a centralized report and response office to coordinate the university’s response to issues of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation related to students, faculty and staff. The creation of the new office  is an important step in the university’s ongoing efforts to create a more safe and supportive campus culture.

“Fulfilling the educational mission of the university depends on an environment where all members of our community feel safe, and where discrimination and harassment is not tolerated,” Peirano said. “Returning to my alma mater to help sustain this important goal is an honor, and I look forward to working with students, faculty and staff to make the University of South Carolina a national model for responsiveness and accountability.”

Peirano earned a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University in 2012 and her master’s degree in education from UofSC in 2015, with a focus on higher education and student affairs. Peirano has held numerous positions at Ohio State since  leaving UofSC, most recently serving as interim Title IX Coordinator and director of Education and Engagement in the Office of Institutional Equity. She played a pivotal role in helping to build Ohio State’s Office of Institutional Equity and is the winner of multiple campus awards, including the 2018 OSU Campus Campaign Ambassador Leadership Award; the 2018 Community Partner of the Year given by the Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio; and the 2019 Citizen of the Year Award presented by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. She is trained as a sexual assault victim advocate, and her experience includes work related to  student conduct, fraternity and sorority life, and Title IX and Clery Act Compliance. 

Peirano will take over leadership from Dean of Students Marc Shook, who was appointed UofSC’s interim Title IX coordinator last March. “Molly’s expertise and experience place her in a great position to build this new office, but her focus on serving people and treating everyone involved in these difficult processes with dignity and respect is what makes me confident that she is the person to continue our recent efforts in this area,” Shook said.

Last March, the university launched its Title IX Task Force, embarking on a comprehensive effort to examine potential gaps in its approach to complex Title IX issues. The university also partnered with national experts from Cozen-O’Connor's Institutional Response Group, to survey the campus community, provide subject matter expertise to the Title IX Task Force and and identify effective national practices. Those efforts culminated in a plan by the Title IX Implementation Group—which  included faculty, staff and students—to increase education and outreach, enhance the reporting process and invest in structural improvements. Recent changes include:

  • Increased education, outreach and resources available to support impacted students.
  • Mandatory faculty and staff harassment and discrimination training launched in October; a campus-wide educational campaign; and improvements to the web resources.
  • Strategic investment through the creation of the new Office of Civil Rights and Title IX, which will include additional investigators and intake, outreach, and response coordinators. As recommended, the new office will report directly to the Office of the President.
  • Enhanced case management to ensure coordination among multiple offices.

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