Non-Discrimination FAQ


What statuses are protected under MSU’s non-discrimination policies?

The university’s non-discrimination policy prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, sex, pregnancy, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, status as a United States veteran, or any other status protected by federal or state law.

What university programs or activities are covered by non-discrimination policies?

Discrimination, harassment, and retaliation are prohibited in connection with any university program, service, opportunity, or activity. This includes but is not limited to all employment, academic, educational, research, extracurricular, athletic, housing and other programs, regardless of where they may occur.

Who should I contact if I feel I have been discriminated against in connection with a university program or activity?

Persons who believe they have experienced discrimination, harassment, or retaliation in connection with a university program or activity should contact MSU’s Office of Civil Rights Compliance at 662-325-5839 or at

If you believe discrimination has occurred in connection with university employment or an application for employment, you also have the option of reporting the matter to your direct supervisor or MSU’s Department of Human Resources Management at 662-325-3713.

Can I designate a program, course, activity, or position solely for underrepresented groups?

Generally, no. As a rule, federal non-discrimination laws do not permit institutions to differentiate based on any protected status—including sex, race, or other factors—even where the beneficiary group may have been historically underrepresented in a particular area. While a few narrow exceptions exist for things like single-sex sororities, fraternities, and athletics teams, these are rare and governed by specific regulations.

Consequently, university departments and organizations generally must ensure that participation opportunities are equally available to all, without regard to any protected status. Departments and other units seeking to address underrepresentation should do so through affirmative efforts to recruit diverse applicant pools, as protected-status-based preferences in hiring are illegal, even where the motivation is to address underrepresentation.