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Montana State University Under Investigation by the federal Office of Civil Rights

Game action between Montana State and Northern Arizona in an NCAA college football game at Bobcat Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016, in Bozeman, Montana
MSU Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonz/Montana State University
Montana State University
A Marching band takes the field at Montana State University

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.

Kay Erickson has been working in broadcasting in Billings for more than 20 years. She spent well over a decade as news assignment editor at KTVQ-TV before joining the staff at YPR. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a degree in broadcast journalism. Shortly after graduation she worked in Great Falls where she was one of the first female sports anchor and reporter in Montana.