Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Report


The following documents (a 2 page letter and a 6 page “Resolution Agreement”) represent the final outcomes of a long investigative process that began early in 2001, when a complaint against the University of North Dakota and the State Board of Higher Education was filed with the Kansas City Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education.

The initial complaint, jointly filed by a professor and a Native American student at UND, alleges that the University discriminates against Native Americans in several ways, ignoring or belittling their complaints of harassment, tacitly condoning openly racist acts committed by majority culture students, and, worst of all, providing a training ground for new generations of culturally insensitive students by rationalizing, reaffirming and perpetuating a racially offensive nickname and logo.

In response to the extensively documented complaint, the OCR sent investigative teams on two separate visits to the UND campus. While on campus, the OCR investigators interviewed dozens of students, staff and faculty, eventually compiling sixteen folders of first-person accounts that describe a racially hostile atmosphere at UND and suggest institutional negligence.

Before that evidence could be analyzed formally, UND, through its legal counsel, decided to strike a deal. (OCR regulations are designed to allow accused institutions to “plea bargain” their way out of potentially humiliating public censure.) Thanks to this process, UND spokespersons will now be able to assert that “although UND was investigated by the OCR, no formal findings against the university were delivered.” While this claim is technically correct, everyone should realize that the university was able to short-circuit the grievance process only by agreeing to make extensive changes in its official policies and enforcement mechanisms

The full text of the “Resolution Agreement” follows. Please note that the agreement is a legally binding document. University compliance is not optional.


Cover Letter Page 1

Cover Letter Page 2

Resolution Agreement Page 1

Resolution Agreement Page 2

Resolution Agreement Page 3

Resolution Agreement Page 4

Resolution Agreement Page 5

Resolution Agreement Page 6