An Associated Press story about an Assistant MSU Professor who has filed a complaint with the Human Rights Bureau against Wal-Mart over a fishing license has gained national attention.

The story indicated that the professor was offended when the Wal-Mart license clerk listed his profession as ‘cleaning toilets’, and thus subjected the man to ridicule and abuse.

Professor Gilbert Kalonde is an African American, and the ACLU of Montana has filed the claim against Wal-Mart on his behalf for racial discrimination.

ACLU of Montana Legal Director Jim Taylor said Professor Kalonde was eventually issued a new fishing license, but he asked Wal-Mart to go one step further.

“He had asked for a written apology, and they wouldn’t give him one,” Taylor said. “We have already filed a racial discrimination claim with the Montana Human Rights Bureau and that’s being processed, but the problem is there’s also a claim for libel because all this was clearly done on the basis of race to expose him to hatred and ridicule in the public.”

Taylor said Professor Kalonde just wants the matter set right, and for Wal-Mart to admit its wrongdoing.

“We just want people to know that Professor Kalonde is not pursuing this claim for some big damage award,” he continued. “This has always just been about getting Wal-Mart to do what’s right. We just want justice for him and for people to know that he was deliberately mocked and demeaned on the basis of race. Wal-Mart has to date not apologized in writing, or addressed a training program to assure that is doesn’t happen again.”


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