Area universities take inclusion measures in light of racist incidents at NDSU

University leaders say seeing recent events at North Dakota State University are more of a reason for having inclusion task forces.

Minnesota State University Moorhead established a Bias Incident Response Team recently, where students can report incidents of racial or sexual bias. Tanner Robinson / WDAY

MOORHEAD — Other universities in the Fargo-Moorhead area are taking steps to be inclusive after racist events at North Dakota State University.

Minnesota State University Moorhead has started a new Bias Incident Response Team, where students can report incidents of racism, sexual harassment or any other biases.

Brenda Amenson-Hill, MSUM's vice president of student affairs and chair of the response team, said this team has been in the works for a long time, but recent events sparked the formation of the team.

"We've been looking at different ways, policies, procedures, programming, training (to make campus better)," she said.

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Along with forming the response team, MSUM President Anne Blackhurst also made a move to include a statement with resources to deal with bias on course syllabi, starting next semester.

At the University of North Dakota, the Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion is also pushing for a way to report biases, as well as pushing for a Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to make sure policies are pushed through.

The University of North Dakota's Diversity and Inclusion Task Force has been working on establishing protocols similar to MSUM's. WDAY file photo

"Our job as the task force is to bring those issues to light, and to try and find ways where we can be supportive of students," said Cara Halgren, UND's vice president of student affairs and co-chair of the task force.

While the universities won't directly influence each other's policy changes, leaders at NDSU, MSUM, Concordia College and UND are willing to bounce ideas off each other.


"While (racism) may or may not be happening at UND, it certainly is something that's concerning for us," Halgren said.

"In the other conversations and other initiatives that we worked on together, I think there's a great spirit of collaboration and support," Amenson-Hill said.

UND's task force meets every week, while MSUM's response team had their first meeting Wednesday, Dec. 9.

Amenson-Hill said the team plans on meeting more next semester.

Tanner Robinson is a producer for First News on WDAY-TV.
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