Multicultural affairs previews bias reporting system

A new program in the works with Multicultural Affairs would establish a bias reporting system for students, staff and faculty to alert the university to incidents of intolerance and bias, according to interim coordinator John Janulis. The program was first referenced at a Marquette Student Government meeting last week.

Janulis said such cases violate Marquette policies.

“Those incidents detract from the mission of Marquette University and our statement on human dignity,” he said.

Janulis said he doesn’t know if other Jesuit universities have similar systems, but public universities may have a centralized tracking system. He said the system could require a lot of campus involvement.

“We would need DPS, conduct administration, the dean of students, the Counseling Center, Residence Life and Campus Ministry involved,” Janulis said. “All these different entities would need to be called together to be able to create something that would benefit students.”

He said Multicultural Affairs does have evidence that shows intolerance and bias have occurred.

“We have anecdotal evidence,” Janulis said. “We’ve got a clear harassment policy at Marquette, but (we’re) not sure if it captures the breadth of experiences students may have on campus that may be rooted in intolerance and bias.”

He said their office would like to start the system soon, but it may take more time.

“I would love for us to see something next year,” Janulis said. “To be realistic there are a lot of things going on at Marquette, so we’re dealing with limited time and resources, and there is a process in terms of introducing new things.”

He said the office is still working on the accountability aspect of the reporting system, answering the questions as to where the report, once submitted, goes and who should take action.

Janulis hopes the outcomes of the reports work towards healing and repairing the harm of such incidents rather than concentrating solely on the perpetrators.

“Multicultural Affairs is in the vein of supporting those impacted and providing education on how events like those impact the community and making sure there is education around those issues,” he said.

The reporting system is already garnering a response from both students who have experienced incidents of intolerance and those who have not.

“I’ve never been in that situation…but I support the start of (a reporting system),” said Sidney Pilarski, a freshman in the College of Engineering.

Anna Ogunkunle, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, also said she would support the reporting system.

“I’ve never experienced it, but I’ve seen it, and people have told me about it. I think a lot of people would support it,” Ogunkunle said.

Some students, however, remain skeptical. A sophomore in the College of Health Sciences, who asked to remain anonymous, said she has been the target of intolerance and bias in her classes. The student said she believes she and certain students are unjustly watched more closely in class than others.

“Even though I am sick, I still go to class so I won’t get questioned about where I’ve been,” she said. “It’s so upsetting it’s ridiculous. Education (about the issue) is not helping anything.”