UWL Hate Response Team

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UWL views hate/bias incidents and all manifestations of prejudice and intolerance as contradictory to our mission as a university and a community, and as a threat to each individual’s right to a safe living, learning and working environment. Because of this, the Hate Response Team was formed in 2005 to provide an outlet to share and appropriately address all such incidents, and ultimately better understand our campus climate.

[T]he Hate Response Team exists to combat the many forms of hate/bias and all manifestations of prejudice and intolerance through consistent assessment of the campus climate, proactive educational efforts for all, and comprehensive response and counsel to the individual and collective impacted by hate/bias.  We envision an atmosphere of civility and acceptance, where people can be who they are, and respect prevails in all forms of expression and interaction. Implicit in this respect is the right of each of us to live, learn, teach and work free from harassment or discrimination on the basis of race/ethnicity, religion, national origin/immigration/citizenship status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, economic status, language, age, pregnancy or family/marital status, disability, veteran or military status, or any other identity status protected by University policy.

With this at the core of our efforts, the fundamental role of the Hate Response Team is to:

  • Collect and respond to information on any and all incidents of hate/bias and intolerance
  • Provide immediate support for those impacted by hate/bias and intolerance
  • Create a safe space for all voices to be heard
  • Assist targets/victims in connecting with support services
  • Facilitate proactive and ongoing, educational training about the impact of hate/bias
  • Raise awareness and empower bystanders to promote a culture of civility & respect
  • Inform administration and recommend best practices in terms of policy and action, based on trends and findings

It is important to note that not every act which may be offensive to an individual or group will be considered to be discriminatory conduct and a violation of system or institutional policy. Whether a specific incident constitutes harassment proscribed by university policy will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Due consideration will be given to the protection of individual First Amendment rights to freedom of expression and academic freedom (UW Board of Regents policy document 14-6)

While the First Amendment protects the free expression of ideas that are sometimes offensive, that does not mean the university is powerless to respond. Instead of trying to censor or punish free speech, the Hate Response Team documents and tracks these incidents in order to:

  • Assist the victim/target in receiving the appropriate services (if requested)
  • Develop programming and training opportunities to address intolerance
  • Detect emerging patterns of hateful or biased activity
  • Publish aggregated data about these incident rates and trends
  • Make recommendations to campus leadership for the prevention of future hate/bias incidents

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