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Catherine Spear appointed to lead UC’s Systemwide Office of Civil Rights (SOCR)

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President Michael V. Drake, M.D., shared the message below with the University of California community on Thursday, March 14, 2024.

Dear colleagues,

After an extensive national search, I am pleased to share that Catherine Spear will join the UC Office of the President this spring as the inaugural Executive Director for the newly created Systemwide Office of Civil Rights (SOCR). Catherine is an attorney, an established higher education leader, and a respected civil rights professional who is currently serving as Vice President of the Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity, and Title IX at the University of Southern California. She will assume her role at the UC Office of the President on May 6 and will report directly to me.

As Executive Director of SOCR, Catherine will lead an umbrella office that encompasses the existing Systemwide Title IX Office, a new Systemwide Anti-Discrimination Office, and a new Systemwide Disability Rights Office. We created this new function at the Office of the President in response to feedback from the UC community and on the recommendation of a systemwide working group charged with developing the University’s Anti-Discrimination Policy. Hiring Catherine is one of a series of steps we are taking to provide centralized oversight for these campus functions and a more consistent approach to how the University responds to allegations of discrimination and harassment.

Catherine brings with her a wealth of experience and expertise. She spent nearly four years at USC creating and leading the Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity, and Title IX, which responds to thousands of reports each year from students, staff, faculty, and visitors in both academic and health care settings. Prior to her role at USC, Catherine served as Associate Vice President at the Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights at the University of Virginia, Title IX Coordinator at Stanford University, and Director at the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights in Cleveland, Ohio.

Catherine joins a dedicated team of professionals at the University of California who are laser-focused on ensuring that our campus communities are safe working, learning, and living environments, free of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Please join me in welcoming Catherine to the UC community.

Sincerely, 

Michael V. Drake, M.D.
President, University of California

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