Bias Incident Policy
Anti-hate acts and bias incident policy
The aim of this policy is to provide a means by which students, faculty, and staff members who experience hate or bias (both defined below) may have their concerns heard and receive support, conflicts may be mediated, and, when called for, effective community responses forged.
This policy recognizes that thought and expression in the context of, and in service to, our learning mission is protected, while offering a mechanism for responding to the hatred and bias that work against it. These freedoms necessarily entail a potential for encountering ideas and speech that one finds controversial and even objectionable, insulting, or offensive. Acts of hate and bias — whether or not intended — threaten to undermine individuals’ or groups’ engagement in the free exchange of ideas. Providing clear means by which suspected hate acts and bias incidents can be reported aligns with Beloit College’s commitment to freedom of thought and expression as central to our academic freedom and to our teaching and learning mission.
Beloit College strongly encourages anyone – student, faculty, or staff – who is subject to, or witnesses, any hate or bias incident occurring on campus, at college-sponsored events, or during activities occurring off campus involving Beloit students, faculty, staff, or their guests to respond immediately, when possible, and to report the incident. After receiving the report, responders will gather information and devise appropriate strategies for communicating with, educating, and mediating between, the involved parties, and when applicable, communicate with the larger campus community. Any acts suspected of violating existing college policies will be referred to the appropriate disciplinary bodies.
Any retaliation against a person who reports an alleged hate act or bias incident or against a person who has been found responsible for such an incident is strictly prohibited and subject to disciplinary action. A knowingly false accusation of a hate act or bias incident may also be subject to disciplinary action. Fact-finding regarding a reported hate act or bias incident does not itself constitute harassment.
Beloit College will report to the police, and cooperate with them in investigating, any act constituting a hate crime, as defined by Wisconsin statute. Those who commit hate crimes will also be subject to discipline by the college in accordance with the anti-hate acts policy outlined below.
At Beloit College a hate act involves (1) violence, threat of violence, actions that are likely to incite violence, or other acts violating college policy that are (2) directed at persons or groups who are marginalized because of their race, color, religion, sexual orientation, ability status, ethnicity/national origin, physical characteristics, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, and/or any other legally protected classification, and (3) have the purpose or reasonably foreseeable effect of harassing, dehumanizing, or intimidating those persons or groups.
Examples of hate acts include but are not limited to physical assault, harassment, stalking, cyber stalking, vandalism, or other damage to property.
Investigations of hate acts require due process according to the college’s policies, including adherence to American Association of University Professors (AAUP) guidelines related to academic freedom. Sanctions will depend on the severity of the action, the impact on the targeted individual/group, intentionality of the action, and on the overall context in which the action occurred. For students, the most likely sanction for violation of this policy will be suspension or expulsion, as determined by the normal disciplinary process. Sanctions for staff may range from reprimands or training to immediate termination of employment, depending on the severity of the incident and taking into account any previous employment concerns. Sanctions for faculty may range from reprimands or training to termination of employment, depending on the severity of the incident and taking into account any previous employment concerns.
A bias incident is a verbal, written, or physical act of intolerance or prejudice that does not involve violence or other conduct violating college policy, but which threatens, intimidates, or marginalizes individuals or groups because of their actual or perceived race, color, religion, sexual orientation, ability status, ethnicity/national origin, physical characteristics, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, and/or any other legally protected classification and lacks a reasonable relationship to an educational, political, and/or artistic end.
Examples of bias incidents include but are not limited to homophobic or sexist jokes, racist epithets, religious slurs, offensive graffiti, or demeaning remarks on social media. Bias incidents may or may not be intended to cause harm.
Responses to bias incidents may include educational opportunities for the individuals and groups involved, as well as for members of the campus community as a whole when reporting patterns suggest broader issues that move beyond the immediate incident. This policy therefore seeks to enhance understanding, provide a forum for expression of multiple viewpoints, mediate conflict, and pursue restoration. Reports will only be referred to a disciplinary body if the behavior violates other college policies.
Reporting Hate Crimes, Hate Acts, and Bias at Beloit College
Beloit College students, faculty, or staff may report a hate act or bias incident in any or all of the following ways:
- Calling Beloit College Security or reporting incidents directly to the Beloit Police.
- Reporting directly to one of the lead hate and bias responders (Associate Dean of Students for Inclusive Living and Learning and one faculty representative, both of whom have received training in restorative justice).
- Reporting via a web form on the college’s website; this includes the option to report anonymously.
Response to Hate Crimes, Hate Acts, and Bias Incidents
Responders are responsible for reviewing all reports, learning as much as they can about the situation, and for developing an appropriate response. This will involve listening and talking with with those involved in the situation and assessing whether a hate crime or act or bias incident has occurred.
In cases of bias, the lead responders will communicate with the involved parties with the aim of developing a shared understanding of what occurred and its impact and restoring a successful learning or working environment.
When they conclude a hate crime or act has occurred, the lead responders will convene a response team that may include the dean of students, the provost, the president’s chief of staff, and the director of communications and marketing or their representatives, and others, as deemed appropriate by the rest of the team. This response team will determine the appropriate pathway for addressing the hate crime or act. This may include community emails, outreach and support efforts, town hall meetings, class discussions, or floor meetings. The response team will refer disciplinary matters to the appropriate college authority and share the information they have gathered in their own investigation. When a hate crime has been committed, the response team will work with the police and share information they have gathered. The scale and scope of response to hate and bias incidents, and the timeline in which that response occurs, will depend on the following factors:
- Severity, scale, and scope of the incident and its impact
- Pace at which information can be gathered; and whether or not that information can be shared publicly
- Effects on those targeted
Each semester, the lead responders, dean of students, and provost will assess the handling of reported cases, seeking input from the affected parties, and the lead responders will provide to senior staff and to the campus community a summary report regarding the number of reported hate acts and bias incidents, their nature, and resolution. Members of senior staff shall review and analyze these reports and, in consultation with others, determine possible interventions directed toward prevention.
Neither the hate and bias lead responders nor any response team they convene are disciplinary bodies. Disciplinary action involving any individual or group will be handled by other established bodies of the college, such as Student Affairs staff and Judicial Board in the case of students, Human Resources in the case of staff, and in the case of faculty, the Provost or Faculty Status and Performance Committee in accordance with guidelines established by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) related to academic freedom and due process. Outside law enforcement agencies may also become involved as appropriate.
Responsibilities of all responders include:
- Maintaining appropriate confidentiality
- Treating all parties with respect and sensitivity
- Holding Beloit’s mission and academic freedom at the center of their work
- Providing affected parties with information about support services on campus
- Providing to all involved parties:
- Clear information regarding the process that will be followed
- An explanation of the time table involved
- An explanation regarding the resolution of the reported incident