Bias Prevention & Reporting
Bias Acts Are
Bias is defined by the university as an act, verbal, written, physical, psychological, that threatens, or harms a person or group on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, military service or veteran status.
Rutgers–New Brunswick Bias Prevention Committee
Since 1992, the Bias Prevention Committee has monitored the New Brunswick/Piscataway campus for bias incidents and has provided bias prevention education to staff, students, and faculty. Members of the Committee have been invited to join by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and represent the major student affairs, student life, and student service units on campus. Its mission is to work with students and all members of the campus and University to prevent, anticipate, respond to acts of bias and intercultural conflict, and to restore the community in the aftermath of bias incidents and conflicts. As educators, Committee members are committed to enriching students’ co-curricular experiences and leadership activities and believe that multicultural awareness and “taking an anti-bias stance” are critical to student development.
The Goals of the Bias Prevention and Education Committee’s are to:
- Provide a streamlined system for the campus community to report bias incidents.
- Respond to bias incidents with input from impacted individuals and key stakeholders.
- Support community members impacted by bias incidents.
- Collect data and review patterns of bias incidents on campus in order to provide recommendations to university leadership for trainings, programs, policies and practices.
- Share information on resources for community prevention and postvention initiatives.
Membership in the Bias Prevention and Education Committee consists of community members from the following:
- Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
- Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement
- Cultural Center Collaborative
- Residence Life
- Dean of Students Office
- Multi-Faith Council
- Rutgers University Police Department
- Graduate Student
- Undergraduate Student
Rutgers University believes in the free expression of ideas by community members
All members of the Rutgers community are free to express their viewpoints in public forums as private citizens, including viewpoints that may be perceived by others to be unwelcoming or intolerant. We do not restrict the activities of recognized university organizations, including the speakers they invite to campus, as long as these organizations obey the law and follow University policy and guidelines regarding these events
Bias acts can be disruptive. However, bias acts may not always be a violation of civil, criminal or University codes, and therefore will not result in discipline.
Acts of bias may warrant discussion or education about how they affect other members of the University community.
Principles of Bias Prevention
Stop it before it starts. Broad constituent/community consensus that actions which are motivated by hatred of others on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, or veteran’s status must be made known to students to aid in prevention of bias incidents, acts, or crimes.
For example: At the first organization meeting of the year, the executive committee provides a diversity training for its members with emphasis on educating new members and first years students about their university’s commitment to developing intercultural relations.
Know the trouble spots. Identification of issues and indicators which may give rise to actions motivated by bias is critical to prevention efforts.
For example: During the jury’s deliberation in the federal case against the three white policemen who were accused of assaulting Rodney King in Los Angeles, staff held vigils in the student centers to defuse tensions among students and to allow them to acknowledge their anger and their hope.
Manage the situation when a bias act occurs. Timely reporting (to appropriate staff) of and intervention in a bias incident and response to the constituents/community involved, i.e. victims, perpetrators, secondary victims, and witnesses, is required when an incident occurs.
For example: Three students approached the chair of an academic department about a pattern of anti-gay comments their instructor made when discussing AIDS.
The act of relating the facts of a bias incident to the appropriate authorities: a supervisor, Rutgers Police, a Bias Prevention Education Committee representative, or other student life staff person.
Heal the Environment. Short and long-term steps must be taken by students and staff to normalize the environment in which a bias incident has occurred. Other organizations/departments may be called upon to assist in the healing process. Restoration enables the development of new prevention strategies.
For example: After a poster of stick figures with watermelon heads speaking in stereotypic black speech was pasted on the door of the black student union building, students organized a well-publicized candle-light vigil which invited faculty, staff, students from all backgrounds to enunciate their commitment to anti-racist living.
Submitting a Report
- If someone believes they are the victim of or a witness to an alleged bias incident, that person may report the incident, in person or by phone, to the Dean of Students Office, Residence Life staff, or another member of the Student Affairs staff.
- If a crime has been committed the individual should contact the police.
- Individuals may also report an alleged bias incident online by clicking the button below.
What Happens to a Report When It Comes In?
- Report is routed to a member of the Bias Response Team for Processing
- If the incident involves Faculty or Staff, it is forwarded to the Employment Equity Office for Investigation
- If the incident involves a violation of the Code of Student Conduct, it is forwarded to the Office of Student Conduct for resolution
- If the incident involves sexual harassment or sexual violence, it is forwarded to the Compliance and Title IX Office for Resolution
- Bias Response Team Member reaches out to reporter within 48 hours of receipt
- Provide the reporter with resources
- Gather additional information
- Provide the reporter with next steps
- Bias Response Team Member follows up on reports
- Collect additional information
- Speak with witnesses, RUPD, faculty, or staff
- Bias Response Team Member makes a recommendation for resolution
- Letter to the community
- Recommended educational session
- Recommended training
- Social media response to a group
- Emails to a group
- Notice over graffiti
- If the reporter believes that a crime has been committed, that person will be encouraged to immediately report the incident to the Rutgers University Police Department (RUPD).
- Upon receipt of a report of a bias incident, a member of the BIRT will collect the following information from the reporter:
- Contact information for the reporter. The reporter may choose to remain anonymous; however, the reporter should be asked to indicate if they are a faculty/staff member, student or someone else.
- Contact information for all individuals involved, including witnesses. Witnesses may choose to remain anonymous; however, the reporter should indicate if they are faculty/staff member, student or someone else.
- A detailed account of the incident, including date, time, and location.
- A detailed description of what was experienced, observed or said, to the best of the reporter’s recollection. The description should include any specific language, terms or images that were used, including documentation (photographs, screenshots, etc.) wherever possible.
- Name of the alleged perpetrator(s) or a specific description of the individual(s) alleged to have been involved.
- Any additional information that may assist in responding to the incident.
- All bias incident reports will be kept private to protect all individuals allegedly involved in the act.
- Information contained in reports will only be released in response to an applicable Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request or lawfully issued subpoena. Any personally identifiable information will be redacted before releasing reports in response to an OPRA request.
- If the act(s) alleged in the report is deemed to be a potential violation of the University Code of Student Conduct, all relevant information will be shared with the Office of Student Conduct for processing through the university’s disciplinary system.
- If the act(s) alleged in the report is deemed to be a potential violation of the Student Policy Prohibiting Sexual Harassment, Sexual Violence, Relationship Violence, Stalking, and Related Misconduct (10.3.12), all relevant information will be shared with the Title IX Coordinator for processing pursuant to that Policy.
- If information in the report indicates that a faculty or staff member may have violated a university policy, including but not limited to the Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment (60.1.12) or the Policy Prohibiting Sexual Harassment, Sexual Violence, Relationship Violence, Stalking, and Related Misconduct by Employees and Third Parties (60.1.28), the report will be turned over to Office of Employment Equity for processing through their system.
- Information contained in reports may be shared with other university officials only on a need-to-know basis.
Bias is defined by the university as an act, verbal, written, physical, psychological, that threatens, or harms a person or group on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, military service or veteran status. Information provided is self-reported by individuals.
It is important to understand that while we have a working definition of what constitutes an act of bias, some alleged bias behaviors fall within the realm of free speech or a philosophical difference of opinion. We are committed to free expression while working with all parties to achieve outcomes that foster respect, affirmation, and learning.
The university can respond to alleged bias incidents in several ways, depending on the specifics of the alleged behavior:
- Bring attention to the alleged conduct by communicating with the campus community or with the individuals impacted.
- Extend support to the individual(s) or community targeted by providing counseling and outreach, and referral to appropriate campus resources.
- Seek to hold accountable through the student conduct process the individual(s) allegedly responsible.
- Leverage restorative justice practices between individuals or groups to affirm victim harm and perpetrator accountability.
- Pursue other appropriate innovative responses to an alleged incident of bias.
July 2020 through June 2021
The following information provides data on bias reports submitted between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.
Total Bias Reports Submitted: 90
Unique Bias Incidents: 62
Classification of Reporter
Staff Member: 16
Faculty Member: 6
Community Member: 6
Anonymous Reporter: 7
Military Status: 1
National Origin: 4
Political Beliefs: 0
Type of Bias
Online/Zoom Bombing: 11
Online/Email/Social Media: 48
In person/Personal interaction: 6
Student Organization: 3
Online Program: 2
Graffiti/Signs Removed: 4
Community Outreach flyer: 4
Community Outreach emails: 15
Group meetings: 9
Referral to Employment Equity: 5
Referral to Student Conduct: 3
Individual support/conversation: 33
Referral/conversation with faculty or University office: 18
Follow up with RUPD: 12
Follow up with OIT: 13
July 2019 through June 2022
The following information provides data on bias reports submitted between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020.
Bias Reports Submitted: 80
Unique Bias Incidents: 74 (multiple reports issued for certain incidents)
Classification of Reporter
Staff Member: 31
Community Member: 6
Alleged Bias Reported
LGBTQA Identity: 10
Military Status: 1
National Origin: 12
Political Beliefs: 2
Types of Bias Incidents
Academic/Classroom related: 9
Online Classroom Incidents: 3
Online/Social Media/Email: 21
Personal interactions: 17
Removal of graffiti: 19
Community Outreach Flyers: 5
Community Outreach Emails: 2
Group Meetings: 4
Referrals to Employment Equity Office: 6
Referred to Office of Student Conduct: 2
Provided support and resources: 38
Policies Related to Bias
Rutgers has several policies protecting its community. Please use the links below to access them.
Resources for Students, Faculty, Staff, and Community Members
- Counseling, ADAP, and Psychiatric Services (CAP)
A CAPS on-call counselor is available for crisis intervention/emergencies every day during regular business hours (Monday–Friday, 8:30am–4:30pm, except university holidays). Students can access the on-call counselor by visiting 17 Senior Street on the College Ave Campus or calling 848-932-7884.
- The Office for Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance (VPVA)
VPVA is committed to creating a community free from violence. The office provides services designed to raise awareness of and respond to the impact of interpersonal violence and other crimes. Through a combination of direct service, education, training, policy development, and consulting to the University and broader community, the office serves as a critical voice in changing prevailing beliefs and attitudes about violence.
- When Terrible Things Happen – What You May Experience
From the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), this resource details positive and negative reactions to trauma and provides tips on what behaviors will and will not help you cope.
- In the Wake of Trauma Tips for College Students (PDF)
From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this handout explains some of the different reactions to trauma and provides resources to help with coping.
- Tyler Clementi Center for Diversity and Bias Prevention
- Anti-Racist Resources (from Diversity, Equity and Inclusion)
- LinkedIn Self-Guided Learning for Faculty and Staff (from Diversity, Equity and Inclusion)
- Anti-Defamation League Anti-Bias Tools and Strategies
- Campus Pride Bias Prevention Resources
- Learning for Justice
- The Pluralism Project