The Community Relations and Development Department serves as a resource for South Carolinians to seek solutions to problems encountered due to social or institutionalized practices that have a divisive impact. Community Relations refers to the nature of relationships between members of a community.
This includes relationships between:
• Institutions and members of the community
The Community Relations and Development Department was created to encourage local resolution of local problems and to foster better community relations throughout the State of South Carolina. This division uses conference, conciliation and persuasion to bring together cross-sections of people to resolve disputes involving discrimination which is not limited to police relations, unit education, business practices and other non-employment issues. The Community Relations and Development Department is responsible for the following program areas
• Establishing and consulting with local Community Relations Councils
• Processing of non-employment complaints (Public Accommodations and 1-13-90(e) Non-Employment Investigations)
• Enforcement of the South Carolina Human Affairs Law, and the Equal Enjoyment and Privileges to Public Accommodations Act .
Since its inception, the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission has worked to link state government to community groups by assisting in the establishment and continuance of local Community Relations Councils. If a community has an existing council or committee, the division offers its support, resources, and partnership. The department staff also advises councils on identifying problems, setting priorities in program planning and development, and planning funding processes for community projects.
SC Human Affairs Commission created a partnership with the Institute of Community Development with the College of Charleston located in North Charleston, South Carolina. Dr. Graeme Coetzer, a professor at the College of Charleston’s North Campus, is the Director for the Institute for Community Development. Dr. Coetzer was brought into the Community Relations and Development Department of the SC Human Affairs Commission to assist in the revitalization and updating of Community Relations procedures.