Montana State University Under Investigation by the federal Office of Civil Rights
Montana State University is under investigation by the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights– or OCR– for alleged discrimination. The school is accused of failing to respond appropriately to reports of harassment based on sex, race, color and national origin, including threats against the Queer Straight Alliance last semester.
A story by Keila Szpaller of the Daily Montanan reports MSU received an October 5 letter from OCR that the agency had received more than 20 complaints alleging the university failed to respond to the harassment allegations.
OCR is charged with ensuring equal access to education through Title IX of the 1972 federal Education Amendments and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
The OCR letter requested the university provide documents by October 25th including all reports of sex-based harassment against students during the 2022-2023 academic year and all reports of harassment based on race, color and national origin. It requested related records such as disciplinary findings.
The Daily Montanan reports that MSU Vice President of Communications Tracy Ellig said in an email that the events last semester were “extremely complicated,” incidents that took place quickly and MSU investigated “every threat, claim of harassment or discrimination” in its jurisdiction.
YPR reached out to MSU, the US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights and the MSU Queer and Straight Alliance and had not received comment.