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Bias Incidents

Willamette University is committed to a diverse and inclusive campus community for our students, faculty and staff. We pride ourselves on our ability to be challenged on our deepest principles and beliefs as individuals, while remaining a community that is mutually supportive and respectful.

Bias Incidents

Willamette University does not tolerate discrimination in its activities or employment opportunities on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, veteran status, actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or status with regard to pregnancy, disability or age. We are firmly committed to adhering to the letter and spirit of all federal and state equal opportunity and civil rights laws.

Incidents of bias can include use of slurs, epithets, symbols, graffiti, degrading language, harassment, exclusionary practices, and physical threats. Willamette community members have responsibilities and options when they witness or experience incidents that interfere with these values. Bias incidents should be reported as soon as possible to enable the behaviors to be addressed and those targeted to be supported.

File a bias report

What constitutes a bias‐related incident?

Bias incidents acts or expressions against a person or group because of the person’s or group’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or status with regard to pregnancy, disability or age or any other basis protected by law. Bias-related incidents can be an event, image, utterance, symbol, or behavior that demeans or degrades an individual or group from a protected category. This could occur physically, verbally, in writing, via social media or other electronic means. A bias incident can occur whether the act is intentional or unintentional, and may or may not be an unlawful act.

Examples of bias‐related conduct include:

  • Words or actions that contradict the spirit of the principles of community
  • Jokes that are demeaning to a particular group of people
  • Holding a “date” auction
  • Performing a skit in which participants use blackface or other ethnic group make up or props
  • Hosting a culturally themed party where members outside that group dress up as if members of a cultural group
  • Assuming characteristics of a group for advertising
  • Posting flyers or graffiti that contain demeaning language or images

The following questions should be considered in determining whether or not an incident is bias related:

  • Does the behavior demean or degrade an individual or group based on the person’s or group’s actual or perceived identity?
  • Does the incident appear to be motivated by intolerance or discrimination toward a person or group based on their identity?
  • Does it violate the shared values and expectations of university community members?
  • Is the affected individual a member of a protected class and what has been the impact?
  • Has the behavior inhibited access to someone’s work, employment, or educational opportunity?
  • Are there potential legal consequences?

Impact of bias incidents

The effect of bias incidents can be more distinct and harmful compared to other crimes or improper acts because the attack is based on membership in an identity group as opposed to any individual trait or behavior. Members of minoritized identity groups often experience a cumulative impact of frequent acts of bias that can have negative impacts on their well-being and learning. The additional pain and significance of the event in the victim’s life takes on added dimensions, including:

  • a lingering sense of fear and vulnerability
  • a reactionary response such as action or bias against the perpetrator’s group
  • a feeling of an inability to prevent future attacks
  • severe emotional and psychological impacts
  • symbolic reinforcement of the legitimacy of the discrimination
  • a loss of importance and self-worth, for both the victim and the victim’s group
  • inability to concentrate, study, sleep or engage in academic work
  • distrust of others, social isolation
  • dropping a course, quitting an organization, or leaving school

Support, inquiry, and/or advice are available in the following offices:

  • Office of Student Affairs 503-370-6447
  • Office of Multicultural Affairs (Salem) 503-370-6275
  • Office of Student Life at PNCA 503-821-8925
  • Chaplain 503-370-6213
  • College of Arts & Sciences 503-370-6285
  • College of Law 503-370-6605
  • AGSM 503-370-6790
  • Human Resources (employees) 503-370-6210
  • Bishop Wellness Center 503-370-6062

How to report an incident

If a situation requires an immediate response and/or is an emergency, call Campus Safety at 505-370-6911 in Salem, or 503-621-2061 at PNCA.

Reporting guidelines:

Prompt reports are important. All bias‐related incidents should be reported as soon as a community member is aware of the incident.

Direct reports should be made via the electronic Bias Incident Report form.

Reports should provide accurate information as elements of a report may be shared with the university community if deemed necessary to protect the community in the form of a “campus advisory”.

Reports are immediately sent to members of the Core Bias Response Team who will review, evaluate, and respond to all submitted reports.

If you come upon vandalism, graffiti or a bias incident:

  • Check-in with the person who was targeted for the bias and call for assistance as needed
  • Contact Campus Safety or, if in a residence hall/Arthouse, the Area Coordinator or the professional staff in Residence Life and Housing. Campus Safety or the Student Affairs/Student Life staff member will take photos if appropriate.
  • Do not remove evidence or attempt to clean up the area until directed by Campus Safety or Student Affairs/Student Life staff. Facilities staff will be contacted if cleaning is needed.
  • If possible, assist Campus Safety or Student Affairs/Student Life staff to keep the area contained or to respond to others in the area as needed and is appropriate.

Privacy and confidentiality

Willamette University is committed to preserving a student’s privacy. Under certain circumstances, some information may need to be shared with other university departments in order to assist the student, provide for safety, or provide for the safety of the campus community. A University counselor, a confidential advocate, and the University Chaplain are confidential resources.

University Response to Bias Incidents

Willamette is committed to preventing and responding to biased behaviors and as such has created a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Education, Bias Response Team, and Protocols for bias response.

DEI Education Committee

The DEI Education Committee is a group of staff and students whose charge is to review data collected from bias reports and community feedback to inform the development of educational strategies on current and historical issues in order to improve campus climate, cultural understanding, empathy, and skill development. It is through proactive education and dialogue initiatives that we hope to contribute to the elimination of acts of bias within our community.

Core Bias Response Team

The Core Bias Response Team is responsible for applying the Bias Response Protocol to reported incidents of bias involving members of the Willamette community or that occurred on campus. The team reviews, evaluates, and responds to reported incidents of bias experienced by members of the Willamette community and provides those who have witnessed, experienced, or accused of an act of bias an opportunity to be heard, supported and advised. Data collected from the bias reports assists in monitoring campus climate trends and informs educational and outreach efforts for the Willamette community.

Based on the nature of the incident and in consultation with the individual(s) targeted for bias, the team may review incidents, mediate conflict, facilitate educational or restorative conversations/practices. Incidents that may rise to the level of institutional policy violations or criminal acts and require investigation are referred to appropriate disciplinary processes or authorities.

Content area experts and university or community partners may be consulted to assist in review, communication, and facilitation of resolutions as Bias Team Liaisons. The Bias Response process is coordinated by the Office of Student Affairs and records are maintained in a secure database management system. The Student Care and Conduct Case Manager serves as the Core Bias Response Team Coordinator, responsible for the day-to-day management and coordination of the response process.

The Core Bias Response Team meets to discuss new and open reports of bias incidents and to apply the Bias Response Protocol when incidents arise. Membership includes:

  • Division of Student Affairs/Student Life
  • College of Law
  • Atkinson Graduate School of Management
  • Human Resources
  • Title IX Coordinator
  • PNCA

The Core Bias Response Team is coordinated by the Dean for Community Care and Inclusion and records are maintained in the Maxient Database management system. The Student Care and Conduct Case Manager is responsible for the day-to-day management and coordination of the Bias Response Team.

Bias Incident Response Flow Chart

View the flow chart

Responses and Follow Up

Based on the nature of the incident and in consultation with the individual(s) targeted for bias, the team may review incidents, mediate conflict, facilitate educational or restorative conversations/practices. Incidents that may rise to the level of institutional policy violations or criminal acts are referred to appropriate disciplinary processes or authorities. Data collected from the bias reports assists in monitoring campus climate trends and informs educational and outreach efforts for the Willamette community.

The Core Bias Response Team may consider a variety of responses to reported bias incidents based on the severity and context of the incident. In addition to the possibility of investigation and disciplinary sanction, when appropriate, examples of responses may include, but are not limited to, efforts to:

  • Determine the need for temporary or permanent change in housing
  • Address retaliation concerns
  • Determine if interim measures are needed while an incident is being investigated
  • Provide phone numbers for the reporting student to call in an emergency
  • Make additional referrals to counseling, medical care, student conduct, police, etc.
  • Recommend that a community alert or statement if appropriate
  • Discuss privacy and confidentiality issues
  • Discuss options for resolution
  • Explore educational opportunities for the larger community
  • Establish direct contact with the person or group involved in the incident to discuss the impact of a bias incident;
  • Develop and provide educational resources or opportunities to individuals, departments, units, and other groups to address the impact of a bias incident;
  • Communicate with necessary individuals/offices as appropriate
  • Provide consistent support, resources, and information regarding the university’s response to the individual or group impacted;
  • Provide information to develop a safety plan, or programming on safety strategies
Willamette University

Division of Student Affairs

Address
University Center 3rd Floor
Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
Phone
503-370-6447