Some bias-motivated or otherwise disrespectful acts may be constitutionally protected speech and thus not subject to University disciplinary action or formal investigation. Indeed, as our founder Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “For here we are not afraid . . . to tolerate error so long as reason is free to combat it.” However, we should do all that we can to foster a good dialogue on what is appropriate in our community of peers.
The University has adopted the following definition of “bias complaint”:
“A bias complaint is a report of a threat or act of harassment or intimidation — verbal, written or physical — which is personally directed against or targets a University of Virginia student because of that student’s race, age, color, disability, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, or veteran status.”
This definition is used for reporting and statistical purposes only. It carries no independent sanctioning weight or authority.
The University encourages prompt reporting of bias complaints so that it can evaluate the alleged facts for possible violation(s) of University policy, including the Standards of Conduct, and refer such complaints to law enforcement when an independent investigation for violation(s) of criminal law may be warranted.