A bias incident is an action, behavior, or expression against an individual’s or group’s actual or perceived identity. Individuals or groups may experience bias based on, but not limited to: age, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, disability, gender identity and expression, national origin, genetic information, or veteran status. Such bias incidents may be intentional or unintentional and affect the individual or SMU community.
Not all incidents of bias violate the law or SMU policy. However, at times they are out of congruence with our community values of cultural intelligence, mutual respect, and inclusion. The BERT enables SMU to provide support to community members who file a report, keep records of bias incidents, and analyze trends in efforts to continually improve our campus community with regard to our values.
The BERT does not investigate, arbitrate, or replace other SMU procedures or services. Its purpose is to supplement and work with campus units to connect those who have been a target of an act of bias or those who have witnessed such an act with appropriate support and resources. The new protocol complements but does not substitute for University procedures regarding the reporting of discrimination, including sexual misconduct, to the Office of Institutional Access and Equity (smu.edu/iae or 214-768-3601).
After a report submission, the BERT will designate one of its members to respond to the reporting party within one business day. Upon communication with the reporting party, the BERT will assess the needs of the complainant and determine next steps.
If the action violates the law or any SMU policy, further action may be taken by the following individuals or offices:
- SMU Police
- Office of Institutional Access and Equity
- Human Resources
- Office of the Provost
- Appropriate campus administrators (vice presidents, deans, or supervisors)