Bias, Discrimination, & Harassment Incident Reporting Form

Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech School: University of Vermont Statement Rating: Yellow Last updated: October 18, 2017

Relevant excerpt

Bias incidents are those where speech or expressive conduct is directed toward an individual or group that is based on or motivated by the individual or group’s real or perceived race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, ancestry, gender, age, disability, or gender identity and/or expression. Bias incidents may include actions that are motivated by bias, but that are protected by the First Amendment and do not meet the necessary elements required to prove a crime or a violation of University policy, as outlined below.

Depending on the nature and severity of the behavior, the associated bias, and impact, Bias Incidents will be addressed through interventions as appropriate, such as: education, restorative practices, community dialogue, formal processes through institutional offices (e.g., review, investigation, resolution), and/or referral to local law enforcement. Although not every incident will be a violation of university policy or law, all reported incidents will be reviewed for an appropriate response. As articulated in the Program’s Welcome Message, the First Amendment allows, protects, and promotes the ability to discuss controversial ideas, differing views, and sometimes offensive and hurtful words. Such speech or expression will not be stifled or disciplined, but may be used as an opportunity to grow as a campus community through the Bias Response Program.

Harassment: A form of discrimination (defined above) that encompasses an incident or incidents of verbal, written, visual, or physical communications and/or conduct based on or motivated by an individual’s membership in a legally protected category that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, persistent or patently offensive that it has the effect of unreasonably interfering with that individual’s work or academic performance, or that creates a hostile working, educational or living environment. Harassment may include the use of epithets, stereotypes, slurs, comments, insults, derogatory remarks, gestures, threats, graffiti, display or circulation of written or visual material, taunts, and negative references related to any of these protected categories.

Microaggressions are Bias Incidents which do not rise to the level of a University policy violation (e.g. Discrimination, Harassment, etc.) or Hate Crime, in which everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their group membership. Microaggressions may be intentional or unintentional, and are generally protected by the First Amendment.

*Note: This definition of a bias incident is intentionally broad to reflect our values to create and sustain an inclusive, safe, and productive community for all of our members.

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