Bias Incident Reporting: What is Bias?

Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech School: University of Virginia Statement Rating: Green Last updated: September 26, 2017

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The University defines a “bias complaint” as “any report of a threat or act of harassment or intimidation – verbal, written or physical – which is personally directed against or targets a University of Virginia student because of that student’s age, color, disability, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, veteran status or family medical or genetic information.”

This definition is used for reporting and statistical purposes only. It carries no independent sanctioning weight or authority.

The University encourages prompt reporting of bias complaints so that it can evaluate the alleged facts for possible violation(s) of University policy, including the Standards of Conduct, and refer such complaints to law enforcement when an independent investigation for violation(s) of criminal law may be warranted.

Although the expression of an idea or point of view may be offensive or inflammatory to some, it is not necessarily a violation of law or University policy. The University values and embraces the ideals of freedom of inquiry, freedom of thought, and freedom of expression, all of which must be vitally sustained in a community of scholars. While these freedoms protect controversial ideas and differing views, and sometimes even offensive and hurtful words, they do not protect personal threats or acts of misconduct which violate criminal law or University policy.


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