BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Native American alumni from Indiana University are criticizing the school’s decision to hire someone who is not Native American for the position of director of the First Nations Educational and Cultural Center.

The former students say a Native American director would be better suited to support whom the center serves, the (Bloomington) Herald-Times reported (http://bit.ly/2c4bqzQ ).

The center’s new director, Nicholas Belle, is not a member of any tribe and does not have Native American ancestry. But Belle previously volunteered at the center when he was a student and spent time on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

Rebecca Riall, a Cherokee descendant who helped establish the center when while attending the university, said part of the director’s job is to help students deal with racism they encounter at a mostly white campus and support them as they cope with being away from the communities where they grew up.

“I don’t see how (Belle) has those qualifications,” she said.

Belle did not comment to the newspaper. The university said in a statement the school is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer.

“All qualified applicants receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, ethnicity, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation or identity, national origin, disability status or protected veteran status,” said Elizabeth Blevins, spokeswoman for the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs.

Gabby Anderson, a sophomore and president of the university’s American Indian Student Association, said she doesn’t have an issue with Belle’s hiring “because it’s not in the job description that you have to be native.”


Information from: The Herald Times, http://www.heraldtimesonline.com