Defining Bias Incidents
Bias incidents refer to conduct, speech, images or expression that demonstrate conscious or unconscious bias that targets individuals or groups based on but not limited to their actual or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, veteran status, socioeconomic status or other social identities.
Examples of bias incidents:
- Graffiti on a dorm room white board that expresses bias against the above categories, e.g., sexist or racist language or images. (Note: If the graffiti constitutes criminal vandalism or property damage, it can constitute a hate crime.)
- Comments that express harmful stereotypes about the above categories, e.g., racial jokes.
- T-shirts promoting a campus party with language and imagery that objectifies individuals based on gender identity.
- Students posting fliers for the organizational meeting of a new white supremacist student organization.
Under Virginia law, a hate crime is any act of intimidation or harassment, physical violence, or vandalism, where such acts are motivated by animosity based on race, religion, gender, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. While all hate crimes are bias incidents, not all bias incidents are hate crimes.
A bias incident may contribute to creating an unsafe environment or have a negative psychological, emotional, or physical impact on an individual, group, or community. A bias incident may occur regardless of intent and regardless of whether or not the incident constitutes a crime or violation of Virginia law or RMC policy.
The Role of the Bias Response Team
The Bias Response Team coordinates prompt, effective, and caring institutional responses to bias incidents on campus. The BRT seeks to support RMC students and other community members targeted or harmed by bias incidents and to educate the RMC community about such incidents, their sources, and their ramifications, in an effort to prevent similar incidents and future harm. The BRT maintains publicly available records of incident statistics and responses and educates the College community about reporting of bias incidents.
The role of the BRT is to support, educate, and refer; the BRT does not impose discipline or sanctions. The BRT may refer or may be required to refer by College policy and applicable law any reported incident(s) to Campus Safety, Ashland Police Department, Title IX Office, or the Non-Discrimination Coordinator for investigation or to Student Conduct, Human Resources, or the Provost’s Office for potential sanctions
Individuals may choose to report a bias incident to the BRT in addition to or instead of Campus Safety, the Title IX Office, Student Conduct, and/or the Non-Discrimination Coordinator. As appropriate and/or required by College policy and applicable law, the BRT may refer incident(s) to Campus Safety, Ashland Police Department, Title IX Office, or the Non-Discrimination Coordinator for investigation, or to Student Conduct, Human Resources, or the Provost’s Office for action under applicable processes. College policies and applicable laws supersede any action(s) by the BRT
For all mandatory reporters, if you have any knowledge or suspicion of any incident(s) of sexual misconduct involving students that may violate our Sexual and Relationship Conduct Policy, then you must still report that incident(s) solely and directly to the Title IX Coordinator via the Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Reporting Form.
Scope of the Bias Response Team’s Purview: The BRT coordinates and facilitates support for people harmed by bias incidents at Randolph-Macon College and educates the community about bias incidents.
Bias Response Protocol
REPORTS to the campus community a summary of the event and current status of the incident. All incidents for the current academic year will be recorded and this information will be reviewed annually to help develop strategic educational programming efforts.In conjunction with the Office of Marketing and Communications, the Bias Response Team, will coordinate and release all public statements about reported incidents to the broader campus community
Notifications: Students, faculty, or staff members may report a bias incident by completing the online form, by communicating directly with a member of the BRT who will complete the Bias Incident Reporting Form with the information provided, or by communicating with a College Ombudsperson who will complete the Bias Incident Reporting Form with the information provided. Bias Incident Reports will be forwarded to the BRT Chair by the office of the Dean of Students.
REVIEWS the bias incident report and may contact the reporting party for more information, if necessary, and if the reporting party’s identity is provided. The BRT may also seek additional information from the campus community.
RESPONDS to the incident by:
- Providing support to affected individuals and groups (where possible) and to the community where deemed appropriate. Such support may include referrals for ongoing support, conversations and engagement with those whose behavior has harmed others, engaging campus leaders to address systemic issues of bias, providing education to groups, individuals, departments, or the community at large, providing resources and support to empower individuals to respond to incidents of bias; and/or
- Referring the incident to Campus Safety, Ashland Police Department, Title IX Office, Human Resources, or the Non-Discrimination Coordinator for investigation; and/or
- Sharing information with Student Conduct, Human Resources, or the Provost’s Office for consideration of disciplinary sanctions
KEEPS RECORDS: The records of the BRT will be housed in Maxient. Each report will be processed by the BRT chair within 48 business hours of receipt. All documents and correspondence will be housed in these files. These protocols will be regularly reviewed and assessed by the BRT and feedback will be gathered from community members about the efficacy of BRT processes. Protocols and processes may be refined and adapted in response to this assessment and feedback.
Meetings: The BRT will meet at least once per month during the academic year and may be convened with greater frequency as determined by the Chair.
The Bias Response team is composed of the following members of the College community:
- Associate Vice President for Student Affairs & Associate Dean of Students or designee: James McGhee (Co-Chair)
- Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Opportunity: Carter Walton (Co-Chair)
- Title IX Coordinator: Laura Soulsby (Co-Chair)
- Associate Provost and Dean of Academic Affairs or designee: Susan Parker
- Vice President for Marketing and Communications or designee: Beth Campbell
- Director of Human Resources: Sharon Jackson
- Inclusive Engagement Coordinator: Taylor Cox
- Assistant Director of Campus Safety: Mike Koslosky
- Assistant Dean of Students: Sara Weinstein
- Director of Counseling Center or designee: Beth Schubert
- Note: Other individuals may be invited to meet with the Bias Response Team if the committee believes their expertise will prove useful in responding to an incident.
- Note: In the event of a conflict of interest, the Bias Response Team Chair will ask any involved individual(s) to recuse themselves from all discussions involving that particular case. Every reported bias incident is addressed by the BRT.