MSU Northern settles with Native American student group over discrimination charges

February 26, 2018 GMT

Montana State University Northern has agreed to address diversity issues and improve outreach to Native American students as part of a settlement with a student group.

The Sweetgrass Society, a Native American student group, launched complaints last year against the university with the Montana Human Rights Bureau.

The complaints stemmed from the 2016 Hello Walk event, during which student groups paint messages on an outdoor staircase. The university painted over the Sweetgrass Society’s #NoDAPL message supporting Indigenous groups’ opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

As part of the agreement, MSU Northern agreed to develop a diversity education program for students, staff and faculty that includes implicit bias training. The university will also assemble an internal diversity subcommittee, as well as an external advisory group made up of area Native American representatives.

MSU Northern will also review its hiring processes.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana represented the Sweetgrass Society throughout the complaint.

This story will be updated.