Virginia Cooperative Extension's Commitment to Civil Rights

Statement from VCE Leadership

“Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) values human diversity because it strengthens our system, our programs and our lives. In fact, it is our recognition of the power of diversity that drives us to reach out to diverse audiences across the state. Diversity is sought in the people that help us determine local and state needs; diversity is sought in the audiences to whom we deliver our programs; diversity is sought in our employees and our volunteers. So as our state becomes increasingly more diverse, we have a unique opportunity to shape a world where respect for diversity is commonplace.

Besides a moral and intellectual appreciation and desire for diversity, VCE also has a legal responsibility to offer equal access to educational programs and equal opportunity in employment for people without discrimination based on age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law.  

Our Extension administrators, faculty, staff and volunteers are expected to ensure civil rights compliance and equal access to our programs. VCE willingly participates in Civil Rights Compliance reviews by USDA. VCE routinely offers civil rights and diversity training to its employees and Extension representatives are members of the College’s Diversity Council. The Diversity Council provides college-wide leadership for promoting diversity in all forms, providing guidance in the recruitment and retention of employees, and providing support for the inclusion of all people in educational programs and services in the College.

Web-based information on our civil rights responsibilities, policies and services are organized on this page for the general public and our employees. We invite your comments and ideas on how we can build on our on-going efforts to increase access and inclusion.”


Mike Gutter
Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension
Associate Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Robert N. Corley, III
Interim Dean, 1890 Extension Administrator
College of Agriculture, Virginia State University

Equal Opportunity

Virginia Cooperative Extension is a partnership of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments. Its programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, military status, or any other basis protected by law. 

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is the civil rights guarantee for persons with disabilities in the United States. It provides protection from discrimination for individuals on the basis of disability.

The ADA extends civil rights protections for people with disabilities to employment in the public and private sectors, transportation, public accommodations, services provided by state and local government, and telecommunication services.

Virginia Cooperative Extension is committed to a policy of non-discrimination in employment and education and complies with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities.


Occasionally, we are asked questions about why we collect information related to gender, age, race, and ethnicity on forms and from program participants. Some people wonder if it is required that they disclose such information. Others ask how it will be used.

Virginia Cooperative Extension is committed to diversity and to ensuring equal opportunity for those wishing to benefit from our programs and services. In order to monitor the effectiveness of our civil rights and affirmative action efforts, we collect or invite participants in our programs to voluntarily disclose, their gender, age, race, and ethnicity.

Neither the information gathered or provided, nor the decision not to voluntarily provide it, will be used to determine eligibility for Extension programs and services or the benefits available though participation.

The cumulative demographic information is used solely for the purpose of determining compliance with federal civil rights law. By providing this information, you will assist us in assuring that VCE programs are administered in a nondiscriminatory manner.

If you feel that you have been denied access to services or programs on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or military status, or otherwise discriminated against as an employee or applicant who inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their compensation or the compensation of other employees or applicants, or on any other basis protected by law please contact one of the following individuals or offices:


1) The individual providing the program.

2) The Extension District Director:

            Sonya Furgurson, Central District Director

            Charles R. Hawkins Research Center

            230 Slayton Ave

            Danville, VA 24540




            Morris White, Northeast District Director

            Virginia Tech Richmond Center

            2810 N. Parham Road, Suite 300

            Richmond, VA 23294




            John Thompson, Northwest District Director

            Northwest District Office

            2322 Blue Stone Hills Drive, Suite 140

            Harrisonburg, VA 22801




            Janet Spencer, Southeast District Director

            Tidewater AREC

            6321 Holland Road

            Suffolk, VA 23437




            Danny Peek, Southwest District Director

            Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center

            One Partnership Circle, Suite 126

            Abingdon, VA 24210




3) The VCE Associate Director for Field Operations and Administration:

            Lonnie Johnson, Associate Director

            Virginia Tech Richmond Center

            2810 Parham Road, Suite 300

            Richmond, VA 23294




4) The VCE Associate Director for Strategy and Administration:

            Ben Grove, Associate Director

            250 Drillfield Drive

            Hutcheson Hall, Room 114

            Blacksburg, VA 24061




5) The Virginia Tech Assistant Vice President for Equity and Accessibility:

Office for Equity and Accessibility

220 Gilbert Street, Suite 5200

Blacksburg VA 24060




6) USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (OASCR):


U.S. Department of Agriculture

1400 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, DC 20250, Mail Stop 0115



How to file a civil rights complaint with USDA

USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form


Please Contact:

Lonnie Johnson, Associate Director for Field Operations and Administration,

Ben Grove, Associate Director for Strategy and Administration,