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Frequently Asked Questions

Why does UWL need a Bias Support & Education Team? expanding section

Bias Support & Education Teams are becoming more common on college campuses that are committed to providing students and employees with an inclusive and safe place to work, live, and learn. No college campus is immune to bias and so it is important to provide an outlet for campus community members to report such incidents and feel supported. 

What's the difference between a hate crime and a bias incident expanding section

A bias incident is any non-criminal act or attitude motivated, in whole or in part, by the impacted parties' 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 University Police at (608) 789-9999.
What if I'm not sure if this is a bias incident? expanding section
We encourage you to report regardless of whether you are certain it is a bias incident. The Bias Support & Education Team will connect with you and offer resources where appropriate regardless if the incident was motivated by bias.  
What about free speech? expanding section
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 Bias Support & Education Team documents and tracks bias incidents in order to:

  • Assist individuals in receiving the appropriate services (if requested)
  • 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 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? expanding section
Yes, the Bias Support & Education Team can respond to off-campus incidents. The campus community and climate extend beyond on-campus incidents and occurrences and the Bias Support & Education Team believes it is important to be aware of what is occurring in our surrounding community.
What happens to my report? expanding section

All submitted bias incident reports are entered into the Bias Support & Education Team's (BSET) database. For the most part, only BSET members have access to full reports. Please note that any incidents reported as potential crimes or violation of university/UW system conduct codes will be directly routed to University Police and Student Life to determine if this incident will be investigated as a hate crime or conduct code violation. Furthermore, any concerns regarding discrimination on the basis of protected class including, but not limited to economic, political, educational, employment, housing & segregation, and criminal justice disparities will be directed to the UWL Affirmative Action Officer to determine complaint/grievance processes. It is always the goal to protect the wishes and needs of the reporter.

Incidents will be directed to the following University entities:

  • Bias Education and Support Team: Bullying, Ridicule, Name calling, Slurs, Biased/belittling jokes, Stereotyping, Fear of difference, Microaggression, Justifying biases, or another biased action or attitude not listed.
  • University Police & Student Life: Graffiti and/or vandalism, Harassment, Stalking, Threat, or Assault. 
  • UWL Affirmative Action: Retaliation, or Discrimination such as economic, political, educational, employment, housing & segregation, or criminal justice disparities based on protected class.  

The BSET meets regularly to review and compile bias incident reports and posts a living, updated document on the Center for Transformative Justice website. This document does not include any personal or identifying information and is a means to provide transparency for public interest and awareness. 

Bias Incident Reports are also sometimes used by the Center for Transformative Justice for educational purposes, including slide shows and presentations. Using examples of bias which occur right here at home has proved to be an effective way to engage our community in conversations regarding the impact of bias on equity and inclusion. 

What if I just want to talk to someone expanding section
If you file a 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 a member of the Bias Support & Education Team about the incident which occurred. 
Regardless of whether you file a 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. The Center for Transformative Justice (1120 Centennial Hall), Diversity and Inclusion (145 Graff Main Hall), and Student Life (149 Graff Main Hall) are three resources for you. You are welcome to contact either office along with any member of the Bias Support & Education Team.
I am an this form for me? expanding section
Yes. The Bias Incident Report is for students, staff, and faculty. We encourage all members of our community to utilize the Bias Incident Report as a resource. 
What should I do if I experience or witness bias? expanding section
If you have experienced or witnessed bias, first, ensure the safety and well-being of yourself and those around you. Should you feel unsafe call 911. 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 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 individuals impacted by bias 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 if the bias incident was unintentional? expanding section
Regardless of intentions, there is always an impact on the other end and therefore a Bias Incident Report should be completed in these situations as well.