Frequently asked question

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Frequently Asked Questions

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. 

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.
We encourage you to report regardless of whether you are certain it is a bias incident. Please note that incident reports will be routed to one or more of the following university entities: the Bias Support & Education Team, Human Resources, Affirmative Action, Title IX, University Police, or Student Life. Whether a member of the BS&ET or not, a University employee will connect with you and offer resources where appropriate regardless if the incident was motivated by bias.
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.
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.
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. 
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.
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.