Ask the Director 6-20
Sunday, October 28, 2007

Q: What are some examples of discrimination that may be found on a college campus?

A: Discrimination on a college campus can take many forms. It can be as obvious as the lack of accessibility for persons with disabilities to campus activities, on or off campus housing, classrooms, buildings and communications, or it can be as subtle as denying tutoring, counseling, scholarships and financial aid. It might also include denial of participation in extra-curricular activities or a low retention rate among protected student groups. Discrimination may include any oral or written statements or other conduct intended to harass or intimidate persons because of race, color, sex, national origin, age, marital status, religion, gender or disability.

Q: Who do I contact if I believe I am being discriminated against on my college campus?

A: Most colleges and universities have mechanisms in place to address complaints of discrimination by students and employees.  The Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) has the constitutional authority to receive and investigate complaints in education, employment, housing, public accommodations and public service where discrimination based on race, color, national origin, age, marital status, religion, gender or disability is alleged. Contact an MDCR representative at 800-482-3604.

Q: What can the Michigan Department of Civil Rights do if there is ongoing discrimination on my campus?

A: The Department will investigate and attempt to resolve allegations of unlawful discriminatory behavior in the classroom, on and off campus housing, or in any other campus facility or program. The Department will also work to prevent unlawful discrimination. When necessary, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission may order discriminatory conduct to cease and provide other appropriate relief.

Q: What services does MDCR provide for victims of ethnic intimidation?

A: The Michigan Department of Civil Rights does not enforce the Michigan Ethnic Intimidation Act, which provides criminal law protections from individuals who threaten or actually cause physical contact or damage to persons or property because of race, color, religion, gender or national origin. Students who have been subjected to this kind of criminal behavior should contact their local law enforcement agencies. The department does, however, coordinate the activities of the Michigan Alliance Against Hate Crimes (MIAAHC), and colleagues are available to support to victims of ethnic intimidation.


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