Penn State's Protocol for Responding to Bias-Motivated Incidents | The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression

Penn State's Protocol for Responding to Bias-Motivated Incidents

Pennsylvania State University - University Park

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For purposes of this protocol, a “bias motivated incident” is any incident that may fall within one or more of the following definitions:

Harassment means behavior consisting of physical or verbal conduct that is sufficiently severe or pervasive such that it substantially interferes with an individual’s employment, education or access to University programs, activities or opportunities and would detrimentally affect a reasonable person under the same circumstances. Harassment may include, but is not limited to, verbal or physical attacks, stalking, graphic or written statements, threats, or slurs. Whether the alleged conduct constitutes prohibited Harassment depends on the totality of the particular circumstances, including the nature, frequency and duration of the conduct in question, the location and context in which it occurs and the status of the individuals involved. Information regarding issues of sexual or gender-based harassment specifically, including definitions and information about the University’s procedures for reporting and processing such incidents, can be found in University Policy AD85. [Excerpt from Policy AD91: Statement on Discrimination and Harassment and Related Inappropriate Conduct.]


An act of intolerance refers to conduct that is in violation of a University policy, rule or regulation and is motivated by discriminatory bias against or hatred toward other individuals or groups based on characteristics such as age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, genetic information, national origin, political belief, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status. [Excerpt from Policy AD29: Statement on Intolerance.]


This protocol exists to ensure an efficient, effective, and appropriate response to incidents that may be characterized as bias motivated incidents involving Penn State students. The protocol should be implemented whenever a bias motivated incident is believed or perceived to have occurred. This protocol is specific to addressing bias motivated incidents targeting Penn State students. It does not cover faculty or staff. Faculty or staff who have been the targets of bias motivated incidents should contact the Affirmative Action Office for assistance.