Bias Incident Response Team

Hesston College celebrates diversity in backgrounds and cultures and makes every effort to learn from each other…we act with compassion and honesty, extending dignity and respect to all (https://www.hesston.edu/about/mission-vision-and-values/). As such, Hesston College is committed to providing a safe, respectful, educational and work environment that is free from harassment and intimidation. The following Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT) procedures are to aid the Hesston College campus community in quickly reporting and responding to bias incidents or crimes and to outline a set of responses that will provide assistance and support for individuals who are subjected to these incidents.

Any member of the Hesston College community who believes they have experienced a bias incident, as well as students, faculty, or staff who witnessed the incident, may report the incident to anyone with whom they are comfortable (faculty, staff, advisor, administrator). All are strongly advised to report any bias incident immediately so that the matter may be properly addressed. Faculty and staff are mandated to report any bias incidents.

Bias Incident Response Team members

Reporting an Incident

There are several ways to report a concern:

  1. Email biasreporting@hesston.edu
  2. Reporting Form: Located on MyHesston where reporters can submit details of a report with their name or anonymously. [link similar to Title IX page]
  3. Email one of the BIRT Members directly

Definitions

These are the current definitions used by the BIRT Team:

Bias Incident
A bias-related incident is an act of bigotry, harassment or intimidation – written, verbal or physical – which is directed toward an individual or group based on race, color, ethnicity, nationality, economic background, age, physical and mental health or ability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, veteran status or religious practice. A bias incident can occur intentionally or unintentionally.
Bias-Related Crime or Hate Crime
A bias-related crime, or hate crime, is any criminal act against a person or property that is incurred due to legally protected statuses and prejudices motivated in whole or part by the offender’s bias or hate against any of the above-mentioned characteristics.

Note: While all bias-related crimes or hate crimes are bias incidents, not all bias-related incidents are hate crimes. For the purposes of this document, bias-related crimes, hate crimes and bias incidents are referred to as “bias incidents.”

Report Process

When a report is made, the process will depend on the content, scope, and severity of the reported incident. In general, the BIRT may do the following:

  • Notify and consult the appropriate college officials regarding the report of a bias incident
  • Determine if the reported act meets the definition of a bias incident as noted in this document
  • If the act is determined to be a bias incident, the BIRT will turn the matter over to the appropriate entity or entities (committee, college office, law enforcement, etc.) which address the incident directly and determine disciplinary action.

The appropriate spokesperson for the college will ensure that the campus community is notified of bias incidents in a timely manner. BIRT in consultation with the appropriate administrative officials may determine if campus-wide notification of the bias incident is necessary, or if greater educational value would be gained by communicating about the incident in a different context.

Individuals should be aware that the college may have a legal obligation to issue a timely warning to the campus community when incidents reported to them pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. Details of this warning can be found on our student life website.

Hesston College prohibits intimidation, threats, coercion, discrimination and other forms of retaliation against any individual because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding or hearing under this part. If an individual believes they have been retaliated against, they should immediately report the retaliation in the same way they would report other forms of bias reporting.