Bias Incident Report System way for students to disclose offensive behavior

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Bias Incident Report System way for students to disclose offensive behavior

Photo via marquette.edu/musg

Photo via marquette.edu/musg

Photo via marquette.edu/musg

Photo via marquette.edu/musg

Dana Warren, General Assignment Reporter

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What began as a project in the Division of Student Affairs and a conversation between a Counseling Center employee and a past director of the Center for Intercultural Engagement has steadily become a tool in aiding students who have felt offended or hurt by biased actions of other students on campus.

“Marquette, along with a lot of colleges and universities around the country, and in particular Jesuit universities, created a bias incident reporting system as a place for students to go when they have either experienced or witnessed an act of bias on campus,” William Welburn, associate provost for diversity and inclusion, said in an email.

While the decision to implement a bias incident reporting system may have been influenced by other colleges, the initial idea and final format came from an introspective approach.

“Bias incidents have historically fallen between the cracks, especially when they don’t rise to the level of being hate crimes or blatant violations of conduct,” Welburn said. “But that doesn’t lessen the sting of aggressive or even micro-aggressive behavior toward a student because of that student’s social identity or group association.”

If a student feels victimized by a biased incident or has witnessed biased actions affecting others negatively, they have the option to fill out a bias incident report which is then sent directly to the Office of the Provost for review.

“When we get them, our interest is in support, referral or just information-gathering,” Welburn said.

The system is not meant to directly handle all proceedings associated with a possible hate crime or conduct violation, but instead the Bias Incident Review Team has the ability to make appropriate referrals to other departments based upon the severity of a reported action. The entire system is meant to accommodate the students involved.

“Everything is kept confidential,” Welburn said. “What we hope that we can do as a team is provide students with support and refer them to the right place on campus for an investigation of their report.”

Since the idea was first discussed in summer 2014, Marquette Student Government has supported the implementation of the system. Students can fill out a bias incident report on the MUSG website.

“The report part is the form that students can go fill out on our page, and it is (used for) any phrases that they hear which they think qualify as bias, including racial slurs or things of that sort,” said Luis Herrera, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration and MUSG senator. 

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