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Anti-Bias Policy

It is the policy of Westminster College to foster an inclusive campus culture that supports the diversity of our administration, faculty, staff, and student body. The policy advances the College’s strategic plan to achieve excellence in teaching and service by developing and using the full range of human talent.

Consistent with its faith tradition, Westminster College strives to maintain an academic and working environment based on the principle of the dignity and worth of every human being. Westminster College affirms a commitment to freedom from discrimination and bias for all members of the college community. This extends to and protects administration, faculty, staff, and student body, alumni, Trustees, visitors, and vendors. It encompasses every aspect of employment and every student and community activity.

The College expressly prohibits and will not tolerate discrimination or acts of bias on the basis of race, color, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, veteran’s status, religion (except for those positions where religious affiliation is a necessary qualification), gender, gender identity or expression or any other classification protected under applicable federal, state, or local law in the administration of any of its educational programs, activities, or with respect to admission and employment.

When a bias-related incident report is submitted, it will be reviewed by the Associate Dean of Student Affairs who will determine the appropriate action to address the complaint and/or refer the report to the proper campus personnel for review and action. If the involved parties are students, the report may be processed through the Student Conduct system in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct. When a complaint involves an employee of the College, the Associate Dean of Student Affairs will work in coordination with the Director of Human Resources and the pertinent vice president, and they will follow the protocols for employee misconduct. Also, if a student or an employee is involved in an incident with a local business or individuals unaffiliated with Westminster, or the incident occurs at an off-campus location, the College will additionally work with local officials to determine a course of action and provide support on behalf of the student or employee.

Depending on the nature of the incident, the response and proposed resolution may vary. Examples may include restorative mediation, educational intervention, criminal investigation, suspensions, or other disciplinary sanctions as detailed in the Student Handbook and employee handbooks. At the completion of the review period, the involved parties will be notified of recommended actions, and the campus community would be informed if applicable and necessary.

 

What is the Purpose of the Bias Incident Reporting System?


The purpose of the Bias Incident Reporting System is to ensure that there is an adequate and effective means of reporting for students and employees affected by hate or bias-motivated incidents. This reporting system continues efforts of maintaining a positive campus climate where all members of the community feel safe and welcome.

 

Defining the Incidents: Hate Crimes and Bias Incidents


Hate Crime

Can be defined as a criminal offense motivated by the offender’s bias against or hate toward the victim’s status based on race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin and disability. Offenders may use physical violence, verbal, virtual or cyber threats of violence, vandalism, and in some cases weapons, explosives, and arson with the intent of intimidating or causing harm.

Bias Motivated Incident

an offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by the offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin, sexual orientation or gender identity; however, the offense may not be considered criminal. Bias incidents include creating hostile environments and harassing behavior that is severe, persistent or pervasive to the point that it threatens an individual or limits the ability of the individual to live, work and study on campus. These examples also extend to virtual spaces.

Note: Hate crimes are bias incidents, but not all bias incidents are hate crimes.

 

Examples of the Bias Incidents


  1. Student organizations host parties or other events that encourage people to wear costumes and/or act in ways that reinforce stereotypes and create a campus climate that is hostile to minoritized groups.
  2. Graffiti on a residence hall bulletin boards, white boards or in other public spaces across campus that expresses bias against a group. (Note: If the graffiti constitute criminal vandalism or property damage, it can constitute a hate crime.)
  3. Diminishing or denying a person of color’s racial/ethnic experiences.
  4. Blatant use of derogatory and offensive language that is rooted in historical oppression that targets and denigrates a community of people.

 

How Do I Report a Bias Incident?


Please use this Bias Incident Reporting Form to report any incidents of concern that occur on or off campus. If you need to report an immediate emergency, call Public Safety at (724) 946-7111, or dial 911.

 

Campus Resources


Cultural Center

McKelvey Campus Center, 248
(724) 946-7179

Office of Human Resources

Old Main, Business Office Suite, 203
(724) 946-7247

Office Student Affairs

McKelvey Campus Center, 341
(724) 946-7110

Public Safety

McKelvey Campus Center, 267 and 268
Emergency: (724) 946-7777
Office: (724) 946-7126

Wellness Center & Counseling Services

Shaw Hall, Ground Floor
(724) 946-7927

 

 Bias Incident Reporting Chart