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Bias Support & Education Team

Our Team

The Bias Support & Education Team (BSET) responds to reported bias incidents UWL in order to continue to foster a community that is welcoming and inclusive to all. The BSET was formed in 2005 to address and respond to bias incidents in order to better understand our campus climate. The BSET is comprised of the following campus representatives:  

Our Purpose

The Bias Support & Education Team (BSET) shares the University's commitment to a culturally diverse and inclusive climate that fosters intellectual and academic freedom, the free expression and exchange of all ideas, and the well being of its students, faculty, staff and visitors. 

As outlined in the UW Board of Regents policy document 14-6,  "Discrimination, discriminatory attitudes, and expressions that reflect discrimination are inconsistent with the efforts of the University of Wisconsin System to foster an environment of respect for the dignity and worth of all members of the university community and to eliminate all manifestations of discrimination within the university…. All such episodes are harmful to the individuals directly involved, and diminish the university community as a whole."   (UW Board of Regents, Policy Document 14-6) 

Therefore, the BSET exists to address forms of bias through consistent campus climate assessment, proactive education, and comprehensive response and support to individuals impacted by bias. We envision an atmosphere of civility and respect prevails in all forms of expression and interaction in order to develop a community of belonging.

Our First Amendment Considerations

It is important to note that not every bias incident which may be offensive to an individual or group will be considered to be discriminatory conduct and/or a violation of system or institutional policy. The Bias Support & Education Team encourages members of our campus community to visit the Chancellor's message on civil discourse and free speech, the UW System Civil Dialogue website, and the UW System Board of Regents Policy Document 4-21.

While the First Amendment protects free expression of ideas that may be offensive, it does not mean the University condones, supports, or agree with all ideas expressed, particularly those that are contrary to our core values. The Bias Support & Education Team documents and tracks these incidents in order to:

  • Provide support to individual(s) impacted by bias incidents
  • Develop programming and training opportunities to address bias
  • Detect emerging patterns of biased activity
  • Publish aggregated data about these incident rates and trends
  • Make recommendations to campus leadership for the prevention of future bias incidents

Of course, people who commit hate crimes, or any crime thereof, 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. 

Our Response Protocol

Through the online Bias Incident Report Form, the Bias Support & Education Team (BSET) seeks to collect information on any bias incidents motivated by a person's actual or perceived identity, including, but not limited to race, ethnic background, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religious affiliation. 

Please note that incident reports will be routed to one or more of the following university entities to ensure that your report is responded to quickly and appropriately: the Bias Support & Education Team, Human Resources, Affirmative Action, Title IX, University Police, or Student Life. We will work to direct your report the the appropriate office while up holding confidentiality.  

Regardless, reports directed to the BSET are compiled over the course of each academic year to shape educational trainings and programs geared towards the prevention of future bias incidents.

Below are a couple guiding documents for response:

What We Do:

  • Collect reports on bias incidents 
  • Provide support for those impacted by bias incidents 
  • Assist impacted parties in connecting with support services
  • Encourage constructive dialog between individuals involved
  • Facilitate proactive and ongoing, educational training about the impact of bias
  • Raise awareness and empower bystanders to promote a culture of civility & respect
  • Inform administration and recommend best practices in terms of policy and action, based on trends and findings

What We DON'T Do:

  • Infringe on First Amendment Rights
  • Limit academic freedom
  • Conduct investigations
  • Impose disciplinary sanctions or other forms of punishment