BIAS Incidents and Reporting

Create Community – Be the Difference

Detroit Mercy is committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive and respectful community that allows students, faculty, and staff to achieve their fullest potential. You can Be the Difference in creating an inclusive and respectful community by acting against incidents of bias. It is important that we all take responsibility to report incidents that do not support the kind of community that respects the dignity of all people based on their social identities.

If this is an emergency or an incident that requires an immediate response, please contact Public Safety immediately at 313-993-1234.

The Bias Incident Committee is committed to fostering a campus environment where everyone feels safe and respected. We include within that commitment a desire to uphold everyone’s right to freedom of expression. Our responsibilities include supporting people and groups who experience bias incidents (defined below), monitoring and reporting on those incidents, and recommending educational initiatives to minimize bias.

The list below provides some definitions and reporting resources.

Understanding Bias

The BIAS Committee will collect reports on bias incidents and hate crimes.

  • A bias incident is non-criminal conduct, speech, or expression motivated, in whole or in part, by bias or prejudice against an individual or group of people because of their real or perceived characteristics.
  • A hate crime is a criminal offense against an individual, a group of people, or property motivated, in whole or in part, by an offender’s bias against a disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

The exchange of ideas and free expression of multiple viewpoints is essential for our community. Ideas, perspectives, and conduct that some find offensive, insulting, controversial, or inflammatory may not necessarily rise to the level of bias-related incidents or hate crimes. Our commitment to openness and free expression, however, does not protect harassment or expressions of bias or hate based on social identity.

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    What is a bias incident?

    bias: an inclination, temperament, or prejudice for or against persons because of their memberships in a protected class, especially in a way considered to be unfair

    A bias incident refers to language, expression, or conduct that demonstrates bias against a person or group based on their actual or perceived social identity, including age, color, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, marital status, military/veteran status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, etc. Bias incidents typically result in emotional discomfort, mistrust, insecurity, and distress for the targeted person(s) and may limit the ability of people to work, study, or participate in college life. They also damage our ability to create an inclusive and welcoming campus.

    A bias incident, motivated by a person or group’s social identity, may include but is not limited to:

    • Discrimination or expressions of disrespect
    • Displays of hate symbols
    • Disparaging conduct or language
    • Hostile environments, intimidating comments or messages, and/or harassing behavior -- in person or online -- that is severe, persistent, or pervasive
    • Threatening behavior
    • Defacement of personal or university property

    Specific Examples of bias

    Racial and ethnic stereotype theme parties

    Student organizations host a party that encourages people to wear costumes and act out in ways that reinforce stereotypes that create a campus climate that is hostile to racial and ethnic minority groups

    Bias in the classroom

    Professors who make pejorative comments or stereotypes about a protected class of people, e.g. women, religious minorities, underrepresented racial groups, people with disabilities, etc.



    What is a hate crime?

    A hate crime is a criminal offense like murder, arson, invasion of privacy, or vandalism, with an added element of bias towards a federally protected class of people.

    Federal law defines hate crimes as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.”

    Specific Examples

    A noose hung on the door of an African American student’s residence

    This hypothetical hate crime is motivated by racial bias and includes a definable crime of threat of violence.

    Assaulting a trans student because of their gender identity

    This hypothetical hate crime is motivated by bias and may include several definable crimes, such as violence and personal injury.

    The word “terrorist” keyed into the side of a Muslim professor’s car

    This hypothetical hate crime includes vandalism and is maliciously harassing against a specific person or group of people because of their religion.

How to Report a Bias Incident

If this is an emergency or an incident that requires an immediate response, please contact Public Safety immediately at 313-993-1234.

Anyone may report a bias incident: Report a Bias Incident. 

If possible, preserve any evidence and document the incident as thoroughly as possible: photograph graffiti / written material; maintain a copy of a phone, text, or email messages; or accurately document and date what was verbalized.

You may also report the incident anonymously. Anonymous reporting, however, may impact the University’s ability to pursue appropriate action.

Once you have completed and submitted the online form, you will be contacted by a member of the Bias Support Committee. 

Make a Report

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    What Happens Next?

    1. Once a report is received, it is reviewed by the Co-Chairs of the BIAS Team.
    2. If the reporting party is known and requests a response, the BIAS Team will reach out within two business days to schedule a meeting.
    3. Any, or a combination of the following three actions, may result:
    • Support: Offer support via appropriate campus departments, employee benefits, off-campus resources, etc.
    • Inquiry: Gather additional and clarifying information
    • Education: Recommend a community message, campus program, town hall meeting, faculty / staff development, etc.
    1. If follow-up is not possible or necessary, then no further action is pursued.
    2. All bias incident reports are archived to help track and improve campus climate.

    *If the incident is egregious, violates University policy, and/or there is an established pattern of behavior, then the BIAS Team will forward the report to the appropriate campus department, such as Human Resources or the Dean of Students Office. If the incident may constitute a hate crime, then the report will also be shared with Public Safety.


    How Will Reports Be Used?

    Reports summarizing incidents of bias will be made available to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

    In addition, summary reports indicating the types of bias that have been reported will be made available to members of the university community. These summary reports will also inform choices about future education and prevention programming efforts to address and reduce bias incidents at Detroit Mercy.

    If the reported incident is a violation of Code of Conduct, Student Handbook, the Dean of Students may impose disciplinary actions. If University policy or federal, state or local statute has been violated, the University may be required to take specific action to address the incident and its effects.