Bias Incident Response Protocol
The term’ bias related’ refers to any manner of communication, verbal or visual, or any behavior which demonstrates bias against persons because of, but not limited to, their actual or perceived race, ethnicity, age, religious affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, and veteran status, among other distinctions and attributes.
A bias incident is an incident that poses or might pose an immediate threat to an individual member of the Earlham community or the community at large. An immediate threat requires an immediate administrative response, as articulated in the protocol. The Bias Incident Protocol is distinct from Earlham’s Grievance and Harassment Policy, though a bias incident might lead to a harassment complaint. The Bias Incident Response Protocol is most commonly employed to address a singular event, while the Grievance and Harassment Policy addresses a pattern of harassment over time, as explained below. However, both employ a similar definition of bias.
Examples of a bias related incident may include, but are not limited to, harm to persons, threatening behaviors, defacement of posters or signs, intimidating comments or messages, vandalism to personal or College property, or similar acts, if there is any reason to believe these acts are motivated by prejudice or bias.
It is not the purpose of the Bias Incident Response Protocol or the Harassment Policy to suppress freedom of expression and the open exchange of ideas, which are important values for Earlham as a liberal arts institution. However, while the College values the free flow of discourse, it will not tolerate and does not protect harassment or expression of bias aimed at or in effect demeaning or menacing individual or group statuses and identities.
When speech or other acts are intended to harm an individual or have the purpose or effect of unreasonably or substantially interfering with an individual’s safety and security by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational or working environment, they can be defined as harassment. Harassment may or may not be based on a person’s identity characteristics. Normally harassment as a legal category entails a pattern of behavior rather than a singular act. For information about Earlham’s response to harassment concerns, see the Harassment and Grievance Policy. View the Sexual Harassment Policy or visit the Office of Title IX for related resources.
At Earlham College, we take the health, safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff very seriously. Earlham is committed to being a living and learning community where mutual respect among all people is a natural part of how we conduct our everyday lives. As a Quaker institution, we hold firmly to Principles and Practices to encourage an atmosphere of civility and respect.
Consequences of a bias incident
Students accused of performing a bias-related action are subject to discipline under the procedures established in the Student Standards of Community Respect and, if found responsible, may face sanctions up to and including suspension or expulsion. Faculty and staff accused of performing a bias-related action are subject to disciplinary action according to the Standards of Performance and Conduct applicable to all employees, the Faculty Handbook, the Staff Handbook, and other College policies as applicable.
The bias response team
The Bias Response Team (BRT) supports Earlham College community members who are either the target of, or witness to, a bias incident. Also, the BRT can identify opportunities for educating the campus community about the negative impact of bias incidents, with the ultimate intention of fostering a more respectful and inclusive climate. The BRT will also follow up on all reports and reported incidents.
The role of the BRT is to:
- Maintain a safe working environment that includes physical safety and welfare;
- Create a reporting system that provides for a clear, easily accessible way to report a bias incident;
- Assist the target or witness of a bias incident in receiving appropriate support and referrals to both on and off campus resources;
- Provide immediate intervention after a report of an act(s) of bias to prevent further actions that could harm the campus community;
- Consult other College offices for advice and guidance.
Please note: Reported conduct that may violate College policy will be referred for action through existing disciplinary or administrative procedures.
The convener of the BRT is the Vice President for Student Life. When tasked to convene the BRT, the VP will bring together representation from the following personnel or their designee: Chaplain, Director of Public Safety, and the Student Life leadership team. The BRT may also choose to consult with representatives of the following offices and/or committees: Academic Dean(s), Religious Life, Campus Life Advisory Committee, Center for Global and Career Education, Center of Social Justice, Diversity Progress Committee, Marketing & Communications, and others as deemed appropriate by the VP.
Actions to take if you have experienced or witnessed a bias-related incident
Why is it important to report bias incidents? Because such reports can increase safety for the campus. Earlham College needs to know the number, type and range of incidents that occur in our community. Reporting these acts will help the College identify the problem areas and improve services that deal with inappropriate behavior. As a person who is aware of a bias-related incident, you have a unique opportunity to play a vital role in the community. By reporting the incident, information you provide may:
- Help ensure that individuals who engage in such acts are held accountable for their behavior—this could prevent further occurrences and protect other Earlham community members.
- Help you—you may find it beneficial to talk about what has happened and your feelings about it.
- Help Earlham and the surrounding community—acts of bias harm our community and should be addressed.
With the guidance of Public Safety personnel, preserve any evidence (graffiti, phone call recording, e-mail, printed messages, social media postings, etc.) and document the incident as thoroughly as possible with pictures/screenshots, video recordings and by writing down everything you, the victim(s) or other witnesses remember, along with the contact information of the victim(s) and any other witnesses.
In addition to reporting all such incidents to the Department of Public Safety, there are several resources in the form of personnel with whom you can seek support:
If you are a student, you may contact:
If you are a faculty or staff member, you may contact: