Spring 2021 Community Hopes and Expectations Webinars
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a hate crime and a bias incident?
The term “bias motivated” refers to behavior and/or language that demonstrates bias against persons or groups because of those persons’ or groups’ actual or perceived race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, gender, ethnicity, or status as a member of any other protected class. Under the Student Code of Conduct, bias motivated conduct is any conduct, whether verbal, written, or physical, that constitutes a violation of the Code of Conduct and is in whole or in part motivated by bias, or is coupled with evidence of bias motivation.
If bias is found to be present, bias motivated conduct will generally be deemed to be an aggravating circumstance to the underlying violation of the Student Code of Conduct. Consequently, a finding of bias motivated conduct may result in a more severe sanction than would be given for the conduct violation without evidence of bias motivation.
According to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a hate crime is a crime that is motivated by the offender’s bias toward the victim because the victim is a member of a protected group.
Under the primary Massachusetts hate crime statute, there are three elements of hate crimes: the offender committed an assault or a battery upon the victim or damaged the victim’s property; the offender acted with the intent to intimidate the victim; and the offender targeted the victim because of the victim’s race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or other protected characteristic.
Bias motivated incidents are adjudicated through the Student Code of Conduct whereas hate crimes are considered criminal activities that are investigated and adjudicated through local law enforcement. Both bias incidents and hate crimes should always be reported via the Bias Reporting Form. You do not need to specify which category the report falls into, both will be investigated and adjudicated in line with BC’s Code of Conduct and state, federal and local laws.
What is a typical sanction if you are found responsible for committing bias-motivated offenses? Why is there not more transparency about the process?
There have been several cases of alleged bias-motivated conduct adjudicated this year. The status sanctions for students found responsible in these cases have ranged from University suspension to University probation. University probation is a level of probation that is considered "reportable," meaning that the Office of Student Conduct is obligated to report this to anyone to whom the student gives permission. Students are often required to grant this permission to graduate schools, professional schools, licensing boards and some employers. Therefore, even if the student is not immediately removed from campus, sanctions are often severe enough to hold students accountable and to prevent future behavior. Students found responsible for bias-motivated conduct will also often have educational and formative sanctions. These may include required trainings, required evaluations, conversation partners, and educational reflections. These sanctions are designed to allow students the opportunity to reflect upon the impact of their actions. Federal privacy laws, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), prevent the University from disclosing the outcomes of student conduct cases as they are protected as educational records.
What supports and resources exist on campus for members of the LGBTQ+ community?
Student Outreach and Support Services serves as the hub for support and programming for LGBTQ+ students and offers discussion groups, mentoring programs, an annual retreat and more. Weekly discussion groups include Prism for all LGBTQ+ students and Transcend for Trans, non- binary, gender fluid/queer, agender and questioning students. Pride Peers is a mentoring program for first year students to connect with upper class students and Spectrum is a free, confidential annual retreat for LGBTQ+ students off campus in the spring semester. Additionally staff are happy to meet with students one-on-one to provide support for students navigating their sexual orientation or gender identity, the coming out process, and to help connect students to other LGBTQ+ students, staff and faculty at BC and/or any other concerns or issues facing LGBTQ+ students. Each spring the office sponsors a Lavender Graduation to recognize graduating LGBTQ+ students.
Student Outreach and Support also connects students to other LGBTQ+ resources on campus and off campus including student groups such as the GLC- the GLBTQ Leadership Council which is part of UGBC and Allies, along with other on-campus departments including Campus Ministry, which runs a faith sharing group called Axios for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
What steps has the university taken since the Student Experience Survey results came out?
After the results of the Student Experience survey were shared, the University implemented a number of new initiatives, designed to address some of the findings from the survey. This included new programs, additional educational initiatives, policy reviews and more. Some of the significant changes are highlighted below:
Recently, the University announced the creation of the Forum on Racial Justice, designed to be a meeting place for listening, dialogue, and greater understanding about race and racism in our country, established the Courageous Conversations program, a dialogue-centered initiative on racism and privilege, and introduced new ways of fulfilling the core curriculum, including the addition of the Difference, Justice and the Common Good, and Engage Differences courses. Additionally, African and African Diaspora Studies (AADS) is now offered as a major in addition to a minor. More recently, the University announced the creation of the Pine Manor Institute for Student Success, with a mission to serve underrepresented, first-generation, low-income students.
Additionally, new programs have been launched, including those focused on first generation students (including BC F1RST, a living learning community for first generation students), as well as those aimed at supporting our AHANA students. This has included mentoring initiatives (the COMPASS program through FYE, as well as the Lift as You Climb program through BAIC), the creation of the Bowman Advocates program, and subsequent BRAVE workshops offered to first year students, along with retreats including Black Women Matter (offered through the Women's Center). We have reviewed and enhanced Diversity Edu based on student feedback, and reviewed our protocols around bias reporting to make the process more transparent and easier to access. In addition, the Code of Student Conduct was strengthened last summer to reflect that bias motivated conduct may also be an aggravating circumstance in another policy violation. Students found responsible for bias motivated conduct as an aggravating circumstance face more significant sanctions.
We have also invested in additional education opportunities for faculty and staff, including diversity programming and educational offerings through monthly newsletters, summer book clubs and utilizing proven methodologies such as the Intercultural Development Inventory and Cultural Competency Engagement Modules offered through the Office for Institutional Diversity.
What training and supports are available for faculty and staff around diversity and inclusion?
Faculty and staff have access to a number of programs and educational initiatives related to diversity and inclusion. Through the Office for Institutional Diversity (OID), faculty and staff participate in the Cultural Competence Engagement Modules (CCEM), a series of 6 modules that address topics on power and privilege, microaggressions, religion, disability and sexual orientation, gender identity and emotional intelligence. Additionally, OID offers customized departmental workshops (Anti-Racism, Bias, Microaggressions) for departments, units and schools on campus along with the Voices of Diversity & Inclusion Program. The OID supports the advancement of intercultural competency growth mindset for faculty and staff through skill building utilizing the Intercultural Development Inventory, a research based assessment tool. Additionally, all faculty and staff are required to participate in mandatory Title IX/VAWA and Discriminatory Harassment Training. Each spring, over two hundred (200) members of BC faculty and staff come together for a one day Diversity & Inclusion Summit to engage in both theoretical and applicable learning framework on a variety of DEI topics. Additionally departments sponsor their own professional development. For example, within Student Affairs, all staff have committed to participating in the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) as well as the CCEM modules. Student Affairs staff also participate in a summer book read series sponsored by the Diversity and Inclusion Committee as well as learning groups on race. Other programs include those sponsored by the Center for Teaching Excellence, the Forum for Racial Justice, and the Courageous Conversation series.