Student Handbook: Non-Academic Administrative Policies- Bias Incident Response & Support

Furman University

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    Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
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Furman University emphasizes the worth of all people. Acts that violate this core value will not be tolerated. Accordingly, Furman has implemented a Bias Incident Response & Support (BIRS) plan that is managed by the BIRS Team. The BIRS team addresses bias incidents occurring within the University community that involve students, staff, faculty, alumni, and visitors to campus. 


BIRS is not a disciplinary procedure and does not investigate, arbitrate, or replace other Furman procedures or services nor does it override the responsibility or authority of any University office designated to address complaints of alleged discrimination, harassment or hate crimes. Its purpose is to supplement and work with campus units to connect those who have experienced an act of bias (or those who have witnessed such an act) with appropriate support and resources. Furthermore, the BIRS plan works with campus units and offices to coordinate the response to incidents that are likely to affect the campus climate.


III. Definition of a Bias Incident

A bias incident is any conduct that serves no scholarly purpose appropriate to the academic environment and demonstrates bias against an individual or group based on any facet of the individual’s or group’s identities. Bias incidents may take the form of, but are not limited to:

  • Vandalism or defacement of personal or university property (e.g. drawing swastikas, hanging nooses, erecting burning crosses, etc.);
  • Display or use of epithets or slurs;
  • Culturally offensive gestures;
  • Theme parties that encourage people to wear costumes or act in ways that reinforce stereotypes or are otherwise demeaning; or
  • Electronic, physical, verbal, or graphic threats or intimidation

The expression of an idea or point of view some may find offensive or charged is not necessarily a bias incident. As a community of liberal learning, Furman University maintains its commitment to freedom of inquiry and excellence in the quest for truth.

For the purposes of the BIRS plan, a bias incident may include any of the following:

  • Discrimination (faculty, staff and students)
  • Hostile Acts Toward Others (students)