Frequently asked question
Why does UWL need a Hate Response Team?
Hate Response Teams are becoming more common on college campuses that are committed to providing students and staff with an inclusive and safe place to work, live, and learn. No college campus is immune to hate or bias and so it is important to provide an outlet for campus community members to report such incidents and feel supported. UWL prides itself in having such an active Hate Response Team, a well established Hate/Bias Incident Report, and an engaged campus body that speaks out against hate/bias.
What's the difference between a hate crime and a hate/bias incident?
A hate/bias incident is any non-criminal act motivated, in whole or in part, by the victim's actual or perceived race, religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability.
A hate crime is any criminal act or attempted criminal act, motivated, in whole or part, by the victim's actual or perceived race, religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability.
For an act to qualify as a hate crime, two variables must be present: 1) A crime must take place; 2) That crime must be motivated by bias against characteristics included in federal, state and/or local statutes. If you believe you have been the target or witness of a hate crime, call 911 immediately or contact our campus police at (608) 789-9999.
What if I'm not sure if this is a hate/bias incident?
We encourage you to report regardless of whether you are certain it is a hate/bias incident. The Hate Response Team will determine if it is an issue of hate/bias or civility and move forward accordingly.
What about free speech?
While the First Amendment protects the free expression of ideas that are sometimes offensive, that does not mean the university is powerless to respond. Instead of trying to censor or punish free speech, the Hate Response Team documents and tracks hate incidents in order to:
- Assist the victim/target in receiving the appropriate services (if requested)
- Develop programming and training opportunities to address intolerance
- Detect emerging patterns of hateful or biased activity
- Publish aggregated data about these incident rates and trends
- Make recommendations to campus leadership for the prevention of future hate/bias incidents
Of course, people who commit acts of hate or bias that are not protected under the First Amendment may be subject to disciplinary proceedings or prosecution. Possible examples include physical assault, vandalism, trespassing, harassment, incitement, or genuine threats of violence.
Can I report if the incident happened off campus?
Yes, the Hate Response Team can respond to off-campus incidents. The campus community and climate extends beyond on-campus incidents and occurrences and the Hate Response Team believes it is important to be aware of what is occurring in the community.
What happens to my report?
All submitted hate/bias incident reports are entered into the Hate Response Team's database. Although there are some unique situations when reports are forwarded to necessary administrators, for the most part, only Hate Response Team Members have access to full reports.
The Hate Response Team meets regularly to review and compile hate/bias incident reports, and posts a living, updated document on the Campus Climate website. This document does not include any personal or identifying information and is a means to provide transparency for public interest and awareness.
Hate/Bias Incident Reports are also sometimes used by the Campus Climate for educational purposes, including slide shows and presentations. Using examples of hate/bias which occur right here at home has proved to be an effective way to engage our community in conversations regarding hate, bias and inclusion. In addition, Campus Climate's program Awareness through Performance produces a slide show every fall as an educational tool to raise awareness around the hate/bias which occurs right here at UWL. The SEEDs program also uses the incidents reported in the Residence Halls for their programming efforts throughout the year.
What if I just want to talk to someone?
If you file a Hate/Bias Incident Report, you will have the option as to whether you would like to be contacted. If you choose to be contacted, this can be an opportunity to have a conversation with someone about the incident which occurred.
Regardless of whether you file a Hate/Bias Incident Report, there are many resources for you on this campus if you would like to talk to someone about what you have experienced or witnessed. Campus Climate (1120 Centennial Hall) and Student Life (149 Graff Main Hall) are two resources for you. You are welcome to contact either office along with any member of the Hate Response Team to have a conversation.
I am an employee… is this form for me?
Yes. The Hate/Bias Incident Report is for students, staff, and faculty. We encourage all members of our community to utilize the Hate/Bias Incident Report as a resource.
What should I do if I experience or witness hate/bias?
If you have experienced or witnessed hate/bias, first, ensure the safety and well-being of yourself and those around you. Should you fee unsafe call 911 or any members of the Hate Response Team. Once you feel secure, document as much of the incident as possible, which includes taking pictures should there be visible evidence. Make sure to complete a Hate/Bias Incident Report and attach any documentation that you may have collected.
If you are in a position to play a supporting role, keep in mind that victims/targets of hate typically have 3 essential and immediate needs: the need to feel safe, the need to be heard, and the need to know what happens next. Do what you can to create safety, display empathy and then explore and communicate action steps.
What happens to the perpetrator of an incident?
Students who have been identified as suspects will be investigated in a manner consistent with the impact of the incident. Should the Hate Response Team deem the incident a violation of the UW-System Non-Academic Misconduct Code the perpetrator will be notified by the Student Life Office and be dealt with accordingly.
What happens if I am listed as an alleged offender in a hate/bias incident?
As with all reports, our process is one of privacy. The individual(s) who filed the Hate/Bias Incident Report will work with the Hate Response Team to determine whether to pursue a formal complaint. If so, you may be contacted to discuss the incident with a Hate Response Team member.
What if the hate/bias incident was unintentional?
Regardless of intentions, there is always an impact on the other end and therefore a Hate/Bias Incident Report should be completed in these situations as well.