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Office for Institutional Diversity

Definitions

This protocol deals with two overlapping categories of hateful behavior that threaten an environment of mutual respect: "hate crimes" and "bias-motivated offensive conduct."

Hate Crimes

Hate crimes are not separate, distinct crimes, but rather traditional criminal offenses under federal or state law that are motivated in whole or in part by the offender's bias toward the victim's race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, gender or ethnicity. Because there is always an "underlying" criminal offense involved in a hate crime, the perpetrator is subject to criminal prosecution. It can be difficult to ascertain an offender's subjective motivation, so characterizing a criminal act as a hate crime may sometimes require a detailed investigation to uncover objective facts to lead a reasonable and prudent person to conclude that the offender's actions were motivated by bias. Hate crimes may include threatened, attempted, or actual crimes; and may include assault and battery, vandalism, or other destruction of property, or verbal threats of physical harm. Harassment or intimidation may also be a hate crime when used to deprive or interfere with a person's exercise of civil rights.

Bias-Motivated Offensive Conduct

Not all hateful behavior rises to the level of a crime for which the offender may be prosecuted, and not all reported hate crimes are actually prosecuted. This protocol uses the term "bias-motivated offensive conduct" to refer to behavior that, whether or not criminal, constitutes a violation of behavioral standards and policies listed in the Student Guide and Professional Standards of Boston College, and that is motivated in whole or in part by the offender's bias toward the victim's race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, gender or ethnicity. Because these policies prohibit criminal as well as some noncriminal behavior, the definitions of and the University response to "hate crime" and "bias-motivated offensive conduct" will overlap. Students accused of bias-motivated offensive conduct are subject to discipline in accordance with the procedures established by the Office of the Dean for Student Development (ODSD), and if found responsible may face sanctions up to and including suspension or dismissal from the University. Faculty and staff accused of bias-motivated offensive conduct are subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the Boston College Employee Handbook, the Policy on Discriminatory Harassment, the University Statutes, and other appropriate policies.