Bias can be defined as an inclination, temperament or prejudice for or against persons because of their memberships in a protected class, especially in a way considered to be unfair. While bias can take many shapes, it typically results in a state of emotional discomfort and insecurity for the victim. An incident that is motivated by bias may include such things as offensive conduct or language toward a person or group because of membership in a protected class. It may also include discrimination or expressions of disrespect motivated by bias or hate against actual or perceived race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, genetic discrimination or veteran status.
MSU values freedom of expression and the open exchange of ideas and, in particular, the expression of controversial ideas and differing views that is a vital part of the academic discourse and intellectual growth.
The conduct underlying some bias incidents might be protected speech, but still violate the Montana State University’s commitment to inclusivity and diversity. Constitutional rights will continue to be protected, and University community members will also exercise the right to speak, engage in educational dialogue, and seek a constructive response rooted in the university’s mission and vision.
Although students have a fundamental right to free speech, this does not preclude Montana State University from taking action when a student’s speech or expression has impacted another student, faculty or staff’s ability to work and learn in an environment free of bias.