MU ALERT ISSUED

Bias Incident Reporting

Introduction

Marymount University is a Catholic institution, founded by the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary (RSHM), and is a community of respect, openness, understanding, and civility.  We continually “practice” community by sharing our experiences, listening carefully to others, and debating ideas in civil and constructive ways.  However, there are times when the actions and behaviors of community members impact others negatively. The Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT) was established to respond to these actions and behaviors with resources, support, and actions. While Marymount University values open expression and vigorous debate in the context of civility and mutual respect for diverse individuals and communities, bias incidents directly impact our ability to collaborate and work together.

The university does not tolerate hate crimes or bias-motivated incidents and will respond to them with appropriate sanctions, which may include: for students, expulsion, suspension, or exclusion from the campus; for faculty and staff, disciplinary action up to and including termination. Students, faculty, or staff who experience or witness any form of hate crime or bias-motivated incident should immediately report it to the Office of Campus Safety and Emergency Management.

Resources

  • Report a Bias Incident
  • Report Sexual Misconduct
  • Report Discriminatory Harassment
  • Marymount Resource Card
  • Bias-Related Definitions
    • Acts of Intolerance — This refers to conduct motivated by discriminatory bias or hatred toward other individuals or groups based on their actual or perceived race, color, ethnic or national origin, ancestry, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, physical and/or mental disability, medical condition, or veteran status.
    • Bias/Hate Crimes — defined as any criminal offense or attempted criminal offense that one could reasonably conclude is motivated, in whole or in part, by the alleged offender's bias against an individual or individuals because of, but not limited to, an individual or group's actual or perceived race, color, ethnic or national origin, ancestry, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, physical and/or mental disability, medical condition, or veteran status.
    • Discrimination — This refers to conduct that denies any individual or group equal privileges or access to a particular activity or opportunity because of the individual’s actual or perceived race, color, ethnic or national origin, ancestry, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, physical and/or mental disability, medical condition, or veteran status.
    • Harassment — This is defined as unwelcome conduct based upon an individual or individuals actual or perceived race, color, ethnic or national origin, ancestry, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, physical and/or mental disability, medical condition, or veteran status [e.g. opposition to prohibited discrimination or participation in the statutory complaint process] that unreasonably interferes with the person’s work or educational performance or creates an intimidating or hostile work or educational environment. Examples may include, but are not limited to, epithets, images, slurs, jokes, electronic communication or other verbal, graphic or physical conduct.
  • Additional Resources


BIRT FAQs

What is a bias incident?

Answer
The term 'bias incident’ refers to language and/or actions that demonstrate bias against persons because of, but not limited to, their actual or perceived race, color, ethnic or national origin, ancestry, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, physical and/or mental disability, medical condition, or veteran status.

Some, but not all, bias incidents may rise to the level of discriminatory harassmentsexual misconduct, or other violations of policy or law and will be subject to applicable disciplinary and legal processes. It is important to note that expressions of opinion on social or political issues (even on controversial questions of race, gender, identity, etc.) are protected, and therefore cannot be the subject of disciplinary sanctions. For clarification on protected speech at Marymount University, see the Faculty Handbook on Academic Freedom and Marymount University Community Standards.
 

What are examples of bias or hate incidents?

Answer
Bias or hate incidents may include, but are not limited to, slurs, degrading language, graffiti, intimidation, hate symbols, epithets, vandalism, and harassment directed toward an individual or a group. Incidents of bias may occur even if the act itself is unintentional and or even delivered as a joke, prank, or having perceived humorous intent.

What happens when I report?

Answer
BIRT will receive the report and respond to you, as the incident reporter, within 24 hours. A team member will seek additional information regarding the incident, provide support resources, and schedule a time to meet with you, if appropriate. If the reported action did not violate law or Marymount University policy, BIRT will explore options for resolution and work with the reporter and campus resources to resolve the incident.

If the action violates the law or Marymount University policy, the incident reporter may be encouraged to take action through one of the following offices/individuals:
  • Office of Student Conduct
  • Marymount Human Relations
  • Office of the Title IX Coordinator
  • Campus Safety
  • Supervisors/Deans/Other Campus Administrators

What happens when I report anonymously?

Answer
All BIRT members will receive your report and decide whether the report is actionable. If the incident is actionable, the BIRT Coordinator will communicate with involved parties, develop a plan to resolve the issue, and document the resolution or any referrals. If no action is possible or necessary, the incident will be documented.

What is BIRT?

Answer
The Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT) includes members of the university community who are available to support and guide Marymount community members seeking assistance on how to handle a bias incident. BIRT assists the University through a coordinated campus-wide response to bias-related incidents that impact the campus climate. Team members document incidents and meet with affected community members as needed to ensure safety and provide referrals and support.

BIRT ensures responsible university departments respond to incidents reported and actively engage the university’s standard operating framework. BIRT strives to operate transparently and communicate effectively and may update the community if appropriate information becomes available. However, BIRT does not preempt nor replace existing procedures. BIRT does not conduct its own investigations and may not be aware of the final disposition of a case.

For example, BIRT may ensure an incident of racial bias or discrimination has been referred to the Department of Campus Safety for investigation and follow up. Depending on the specific details of an incident, additional responsible departments may have a role in its handling and/or resolution, including, but not limited to the Division of Student Affairs, Student Conduct, and/or Human Resources. Responsible departments, not BIRT, may be in direct contact with affected individuals as needed or appropriate.

Why is BIRT needed?

Answer
Some actions and situations may not violate law or policy but, nonetheless, fail to support our vision of a community of respect, openness, understanding, and civility. BIRT not only provides assistance to those filing a report, it keeps records of bias incidents to ensure members of the community have appropriate access to information related to these incidents. BIRT also serves as a liaison to members of the community who may not know where or how to seek appropriate resources.

Why should bias incidents be reported?

Answer
Reporting a bias incident helps to ensure our community addresses issues that impact our ability to cultivate the trust and cultural humility that are essential components of community building and learning at Marymount. Reporting bias incidents also ensures that members of our community receive necessary support resources. Finally, this information provides the university with a record of current issues on campus and enables the community to track trends.

Who are members of BIRT?

Answer
BIRT is made up a core group of trained staff who can respond to bias incidents involving students, faculty, and staff. Team members are available to support and guide individuals seeking assistance in determining how to handle a bias incident.

Members of the Bias Response Team may include representatives from the following:
  • Student Affairs
  • OCRS
  • Full-time Faculty
  • Administrative Academic Affairs
  • Administrative Athletics
  • Student Access Services
  • Campus Safety
  • Human Resources

Are there reports on bias incidents on campus?

Answer
The Bias Incident Response Team produces regular reports to the community.
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