Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT)

Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech School: University of North Carolina – Asheville Statement Rating: Yellow Last updated: August 18, 2017

Relevant excerpt

What Does BIRT Do?

We assist students who report bias incidents. Our primary function is to support students who report bias incidents. We support them by listening to their accounts of their experiences and discussing resources and both formal and informal options for moving forward. The student is in charge of the process, and we will not take any action that is not authorized by the student. Students can make reports whether or not they want to take action.

We keep annual statistical records of bias incidents on campus. At the end of each year we compile a statistical summary of the reports received during the year.

Provide skills to empower students to use grassroots methods such as bystander intervention to assist building an inclusive campus environment.

We promote conversation about diversity issues. We also meet with student groups to engage in or moderate discussions about diversity on our campus.

What Does BIRT Not Do?

We aren’t a judicial or disciplinary body. We do not decide guilt or innocence and do not mete out punishment. We play no part in disciplinary proceedings.

We aren’t an investigative team. We don’t go on fact-finding missions. We take reports about bias incidents and, if the student wants to, we discuss options for how the student might move forward. If the student opts to file a formal report and initiate campus disciplinary proceedings, then an investigation will be carried out through that process, which is overseen by Citizenship Education, not BIRT.

We aren’t a crisis response team. Anyone in a dangerous situation (e.g., a violent or potentially violent situation) needs to contact Public Safety immediately. If the situation involves a bias incident, we can take a report at a later time.

We aren’t the thought police or speech police. We don’t tell people what to think or how to talk.  We do support the students whose ability to feel safe, at home, and welcome in our community is frustrated by the bias around them.

What is a Bias Complaint?

An act of bigotry, harassment or intimidation – verbal, written or physical – which is personally directed against or targets a University of North Carolina – Asheville student because of that student’s race, age, color, disability, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, religion, gender, gender identity, pregnancy, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

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