In the Office of the Dean of Students, our primary goal is to ensure all students feel safe and supported during their time at Boston College. We encourage students to reach out to us if they, or one of theirpeers, encounter any situation that makes them feel otherwise. We are here to help.
Hate Crimes and Bias-Related Incidents Protocol Overview
The following statement made by William P. Leahy, S.J., president of Boston College embodies the University's goal of maintaining an environment free of discrimination and all forms of harassment and intimidation:
"As a university and an institution committed to Jesuit, Catholic beliefs and values, Boston College expects members of its community to treat one another with respect, dignity, and compassion. Acts of prejudice, hatred, and discrimination especially conflict with BC's institutional standards and ethos, and such behavior cannot and will not be tolerated here. Violations of campus conduct policies will be investigated, and parties found responsible will receive appropriate sanctions. It is important that offensive conduct be reported and that due process be followed so that we can maintain the rights and integrity of our campus community. I ask that all of us rededicate ourselves to helping BC live up to its heritage and ideals."
At Boston College we must vigorously pursue an academic, work, and social environment that is fair and founded upon mutual respect and trust. It is our hope that all individuals within the broad University community share this aspiration and its attendant responsibilities.
This protocol was developed to provide members of the Boston College community with information on the process for reporting a hate crime or bias-related incidents and on the resources available to those who have been the targets of hate.
An open and interactive community is an essential characteristic of a Jesuit and Catholic university. Respect is fundamental to the free exchange of ideas at the core of an environment that cultivates learning and discovery. This protocol is a dynamic document designed to change as necessary to improve our ability to respond to the needs of our community.
Incident Reporting Form
Boston College is committed to addressing incidents of bias and appreciates your assistance in bringing these incidents to our attention. Please use the button at the top of the page to report information about bias-related incidents. Our goal is to document incidents to educate our community and ultimately to better enable the University to prevent this kind of behavior and to address it properly when it occurs.
If you believe that you have been a target or witness to a hate crime we encourage you to contact the Boston College Police (BCPD) or other designated authorities before using the form. See either the “If you have been a target of hate” or the “If you have been a witness” section of the Hate Crime and Bias-Related Incident Protocol for further information about what should be reported and how to do so. Information collected by the BCPD or designated authorities for the purpose of investigating allegations of hate crimes are subject to federal and state criminal investigation protocols.
Reports will be kept confidential to the extent possible unless it requires judicial or administrative action. If you have any questions about the form, its use, or the Hate Crimes and Bias-Related Incident Protocol, please contact Patricia Lowe, Associate Vice President, University Title IX/ADA Coordinator at email@example.com.
This protocol deals with two overlapping categories of hateful behavior that threaten an environment of mutual respect: "hate crimes" and "bias-related incident."
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 conduct is prohibited. 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 this 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. Examples may include defacement of posters or signs, threatening or intimidating comments or messages, vandalism to personal or University property, or similar acts.
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. In some cases, bias motivated conduct may constitute discriminatory harassment or sexual misconduct and may give rise to other conduct charges accordingly.
Target of a Hate Crime
If you believe that you may have been the target of a hate crime, there are several steps you should follow:
- If necessary, obtain medical attention, and if you feel unsafe call the BC Police Department (BCPD) emergency number (617-552-4444) immediately.
- If possible, preserve any evidence and document the incident as thoroughly as possible (graffiti, phone call recording, e-mail message, letter, and so forth) by taking pictures, videotaping, and writing down everything you or witnesses remember, and keeping the contact information of any witnesses.
- Report the incident to the appropriate authority. Anyone may report offensive conduct to the Boston College Police non-emergency number (617-552-4440). Students may also report offensive conduct to the Office of Student Conduct (617-552-3470) or a professional staff member in Residential Life (617-552-3060). If after hours, BCPD can contact a professional staff member or the administrator on call. Faculty or staff may report an incident to the Department of Human Resources (617-552-3330) or to the office of the Academic Dean or Harassment Counselor (617-552-0486), as appropriate.
- If you are not sure whether or not offensive conduct may be a hate crime, report it anyway. The Boston College Police, and the offices listed in #3 above, will listen to your story and provide any resources or services that may be necessary, including a full investigation.
- It is best to report an incident as early as possible to facilitate the investigation.
The Boston College Police, and other offices listed in #3 above, or persons or offices listed in the Support Resources Section, will be able to refer you to a variety of support resources both on and off campus that will be helpful. Please do not hesitate to request this information at any time. It is important to talk to someone if you experience or witness an incident of hate.
Witness of Hate Crime
Why it is important to report hate crimes and bias-related incidents
The police and the University need to know the number, type, and range of hate crimes and bias-related incidents that affects a member of our community. Reporting these offenses will help Boston College identify the problem areas to improve services that deal with this type of victimization.
As a witness to a hate crime or bias-related incident, you have a unique opportunity to play a vital role in the internal and/or external justice system. By reporting the offense, information you provide will help the police and University ensure that offenders answer for their offenses and will help resolve larger issues.
The information you give by reporting a hate crime or bias-related incident you may witness will:
- Help bring the perpetrator to justice—this could prevent further occurrences and protect other BC community members;
- Help you—you may find it beneficial to talk about what has happened and your feelings about it;
- Help the BC community—all such offenses have a negative effect on our community and should be pursued actively.
Simply call the Boston College Police non-emergency number (617-552-4440), 24 hours a day, to report any hate crime and bias-related incidents or contact a University official listed in the Support Resources Section if you feel you have been a witness.
If the incident happened off campus, these same people can assist you with local authorities.
The process for determining whether an incident is indeed a crime and possibly a hate crime is a complicated legal matter to be determined by the Boston College Police Department. Therefore, department administrators, faculty, staff, or students who receive reports of these incidents shall report them to the BCPD for investigation and referral. Once the initial report of an incident is made, an investigation will begin according to BCPD procedures. BCPD may refer the matter to an appropriate University official for follow-up and/or to seek prosecution.
The following chart may be useful to outline the appropriate reporting and follow-up process under this protocol:
|Target||Perpetrator||Report to||Follow-up and adjudication may include||Target support|
*If in residence hall
|Student||BC Police or the Office of Student Conduct|
|the Office of Student Conduct or Residence Life||The Office of Student Conduct or Support Resources|
|Student||Faculty or Staff||BC Police or Academic Dean or HR or Harassment Counselor or Resources Network or the Office of Student Conduct||HR or Harassment Counselor or Academic Dean||The Office of Student Conduct or Support Resources|
|Faculty or Staff||Student||BC Police or the Office of Student Conduct||The Office of Student Conduct or Harassment Counselor||HR or Harassment Counselor or Resources Network or Faculty Staff Assistance Program or Academic Dean|
|Student or Faculty or Staff||Outsider||BC Police or the Office of Student Conduct||Non-BC police agencies||The Office of Student Conduct or HR or Harassment Counselor or Resources Network or Faculty Staff Assistance Program or Academic Dean|
Boston College students may report any suspected violations of the University's "bias-related incident" policy that involves other students by calling the Office of Student Conduct at 617-552-3470 or by filling out a Report an Alleged Violation of the Code of Conduct. If a staff or faculty member is involved in an incident, students may report to the BC Police or Academic Dean, or Human Resources or Harassment Counselor, Resources Network, or the Office of Student Conduct.
Discriminatory Harassment—If the offensive conduct involves a form of discriminatory harassment, it should be reported to the Harassment Counselor or to a member of the Harassment Resources Network.
Range of Sanctions (for student perpetrators)—Student sanctions may range from educational sanctions/community service up to and including suspension of housing privileges or dismissal from the University.
Concerns about bias grading—If bias is perceived to exist in grading or work assignments from the instructor the student should contact the instructor and, failing to get a satisfactory outcome should follow the procedure for appealing a course grade.
Concerns about bias in the classroom—In the case where there is no individually directed bias against a student, but a faculty member speaks or behaves in a way that creates an uneasy or hostile climate, the student should report the matter to the Dean of the School or to the Harassment Counselor.
Although a hate crime or bias-related incident may take the form of a violation against a single individual or a number of individuals, in some cases such conduct can offend and impact the entire community. For that reason, communication to the broader community about the crime or offensive conduct may require a University response. The targeted person will be consulted to determine the appropriate communication to the community.
As a University guided by the Jesuit and Catholic philosophy of cura personalis (care for the individual), Boston College's first responsibility is to care for its students, faculty, and staff. We value all members of our community, and feel an obligation to protect them in all cases, including their privacy and reputation whenever possible.
Boston College's communication policy mirrors this commitment. As a result, the University will only report information once facts are gathered properly and if the release of information is deemed appropriate. Administrators from Student Affairs, Boston College Police, Office of University Communications, and/or other campus partners, will share information and make a determination regarding the communication channels and means to disseminate information. Specifically, in the case of a campus-wide safety issue, the University will immediately post a safety notice on the BC website to inform the community of what Boston, Newton, Massachusetts State Police, or BC Police deem a "threat to the community."
Safety notices will provide pertinent information about the incident, such as location of the incident and the numbers of individuals involved.
The University recognizes the need to manage rumors and misinformation that often accompany hate crimes and bias-motivated offenses. The University will disseminate information, as it becomes known, in the most appropriate and effective means that the situation dictates.
The Boston College Police Department will investigate any report concerning a hate crime and has established a zero-tolerance policy toward these offenses or any bias-related incident. Once reported, a uniformed member of the department will respond to the scene, talk to the victim, arrange to have the area photographed, preserve any evidence, arrange for cleaning or covering offensive material, and file an initial intake report. Uniformed supervisory staff will respond as needed to oversee the initial investigation and help to ensure victims have the support they may need from the University.
The initial written intake report and any supporting documentation is then turned over to the commanding officer of the detective unit where a specially trained BCPD detective and hate crime investigator will be assigned the case. This officer will reach out to the victim and any witnesses to discuss the case once they feel comfortable doing so and will further investigate the incident as determined by the nature of the offense. Note: Any hate incident is logged and initially investigated as a hate crime; the final determination, for state and federal reporting purposes, is completed later.
The investigating detective will look for similar offenses over a period of time, identify modus operandi or the manner of operation, especially the characteristic method employed by a person in completing such a hate incident. The detective will attempt to identify suspects and additional witnesses and will readily consult with off-campus criminal systems experts as needed.
All such reports are forwarded to Student Conduct for review and internal action as warranted. Any court prosecution will be determined after consultation with the appropriate district attorney's office and only if the victim feels comfortable doing so.
Education and Prevention
Boston College supports a number of programs that seek to educate the BC community about the importance of diversity and inclusiveness and to help foster a positive campus climate for students, faculty, staff. These programs are supported by various departments and student organizations on campus.
The African and African Diaspora Studies Program (AADS) considers the history, culture, and politics of Africans on the subcontinent and African-descended peoples in the U.S., the Caribbean, South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Covering a vast historical period and geographical expanse, African and African Diaspora Studies acquaints students with the multiplicity and diversity of the African diaspora and the world in which we all live. Using an interdisciplinary and comparative approach, the program draws on a broad range of methodologies in the Humanities and Social Sciences including those in English, History, Sociology, Philosophy, Theology, and Communications. These diverse methodologies help reveal the deep roots and diverse routes that have shaped African and African-descended peoples and continue to inform their lives today.
The Asian Studies Program draws faculty from several departments to provide students with an interdisciplinary introduction to this vast and complex region. The program is also an intellectual center at Boston College for the study of Asia with lectures, films, and seminars for both faculty and students.
This course is part of the Cornerstone Program sponsored by the First Year Experience Program. It is an introduction to college life in which students investigate personal and social development in the college years. Topics include the nature of learning, diversity, social justice, human sexuality, intimacy, addiction, and career and professional discernment, among others.
The purpose of the institute is to promote the assets and address the societal conflicts associated with race or culture in theory, and research, mental health practice, education, business, and society at large. Every year the institute sponsors the Diversity Challenge Conference.
The AHANA student population is a growing community within the Boston College community. Celebrating the richness of myriad cultures and histories, AHANA student clubs/organizations coordinate numerous events/activities. For instance, there are the annual culture shows hosted by a number of clubs -- the Asian Caucus, South Asian Students Association.
The Jewish Studies Program seeks to examine the multiple dimensions and complexities of Jewish civilization throughout its broad chronological and geographical range. In so doing, the program contributes to Boston College's efforts to internationalize and enrich its curriculum by creating a space for reflection on an ethnically and religiously diverse campus.
The program draws from faculty from several departments to provide students with an interdisciplinary introduction to Latin America.
The World of Islam, encompassing one and a half billion people in 55 countries, represents a culture of extraordinary depth, richness and diversity.
Students immerse themselves in other communities to learn about the realities, hopes, and struggles of those living in situations of economic, political, or social marginalization. Campus Ministry and different academic departments sponsor these trips.
The center plans programs for the campus community to raise awareness about issues affecting women at Boston College and to celebrate women's accomplishments in the community and in the world.
World Fiesta Day
It is a day of crafts, typical foods, costumes, videos, games, posters, and related literature and brochures. The BC community is invited to provide live campus performers and to promote the talents of all groups. The day also is meant to promote BC's international and multicultural character and bring about cross-cultural awareness. World Fiesta is the only event that brings together at one time the graduate and undergraduate student bodies with all international programs, intercultural clubs, relevant departments from throughout the campus, and outside vendors.
The Mays Mentoring Program is designed to provide AHANA students with an opportunity to have a personal connection with a faculty member or administrator who can guide them through the college environment. The Benjamin E. Mays Mentoring Program attempts to ameliorate potential isolation and loneliness that are often experienced by AHANA students by pairing them with a mentor who is willing and dedicated to develop a relationship with AHANA students and to follow them through their undergraduate career at Boston College. By working with students beginning in the first year, mentors assist protégés in building solid foundations that help to ensure the successful achievement of their goals. Mentors provide encouragement and support as students develop habits and attitudes that lead to academic and personal success.
Boston College Affinity Groups are volunteer, employee-managed groups that promote the interests of their respective constituencies.
Within the UGBC, the AHANA Leadership Council works to strengthen the relationship among various AHANA culture-specific groups, and to create greater multicultural awareness on campus through retreats, lectures, and other special events.
"The GLBTQ Leadership Council is committed to bettering the quality of life for all students at Boston College who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning. "
How is the University working to prevent hate crimes and bias-relate incidents?
Boston College supports a number of programs that seek to educate the BC community about the importance of diversity and inclusiveness and to help foster a positive campus climate for students, faculty, staff. These programs are supported by various departments and student organizations on campus. Find more information about these initiatives on our Education and Prevention tab.
Who can I contact for support if I want to talk about a hate crime or bias-related incidents?
There are many resources on campus who are trained and equipped to talk about different issues pertaining to hate crimes and bias-related incidents.
If you feel like you have witnessed or experiences an incident, we encourage you to contact the Boston College Police (BCPD) or other designated authorities. After doing so, you may submit an incident reporting form at the top of the page to report information about bias-related incidents.
What is the protocol for Student-Related Matters?
See previous tabs.
What is the protocol for matters related to faculty and staff?
Part of police procedures for addressing faculty-/staff-related complaints include communication and referral to the Office of Human Resources. If you are a faculty or staff member, you may choose to initiate a complaint through the Boston College Police Department, the Department of Human Resources (553-3330), the Office for Institutional Diversity (552-2323), the Boston College Harassment Counselor Mary Ellen Fulton (552-4200) or the academic dean of the appropriate school. Complaints lodged in any of these offices will be referred for further investigation, as appropriate, to the Boston College Police.
How does the University communicate to the campus community about hate crimes and bias-related incidents?
Communication to the broader community about the crime or offensive conduct and the University response may be required. The targeted person will be consulted to determine the appropriate communication to the community. Read more about communication about hate crimes and bias-related incidents.
Where can I find more information about the policies?
Boston College rejects and condemns all forms of harassment, wrongful discrimination and disrespect. It has developed procedures to respond to incidents of harassment whatever the basis or circumstance. Moreover, it is the policy of Boston College, while reserving its lawful rights where appropriate to take actions designed to promote the Jesuit, Catholic principles that sustain its mission and heritage, to comply with all state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment and in its educational programs on the basis of a persons race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, age, marital or parental status, genetic information or family medical history, or military status, and to comply with state law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of a person's sexual orientation. Read more about our notice of non-discrimination at Boston College.
Use the resources for Related University Policies to learn about other policies that exist beyond the Office for Institutional Diversity.
How do I report a hate crime or bias-related incidents?
If you have been a target of a hate crime or bias-related incidents, please first seek safety and receive any medical attention, if necessary. Then, refer to the following page for information about reporting: target of an incident
If you have been a witness of a hate crime or bias-related incidents, refer to the following page for information about reporting: witness of an incident
What is the Boston College Police Department investigation procedure?
The Boston College Police Department will investigate any report concerning a hate crime and has established a zero-tolerance policy toward these offenses or any bias-related incident. Read more about BCPD investigation procedures.
What is the purpose of the Hate Crime and Bias-Related Incident Reporting Form?
Incidents reported on the form will be recorded in a database maintained by the Office for Institutional Diversity. OID will use the information in the database to publish an annual report on hate crimes and bias-related incidents.
This form is not necessary if you have reported the incident to another campus authority (BCPD, Student Conduct, Res Life, HR, Deans, etc.) because those reports will be included in the database.
Why should I complete the Hate Crime and Bias-Related Incident Reporting Form?
Use the button at the top of the page to complete the Hate Crime and Bias-Related Incident Form. Our goal is to document incidents to educate our community and ultimately to better enable the University to prevent this kind of behavior and to address it properly when it occurs.
How do I submit the Hate Crime and Bias-Related Incident Reporting Form?
The form will ask you to report details about the incident, which will then be submitted to the essential personnel. For further questions about the form, its use, or the Hate Crimes and Bias-Related Incident Protocol, please contact Patricia Lowe, Associate Vice President, University Title IX/ADA Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the resources listed on the University Responses page, there are many other supportive offices, staff, and faculty at Boston College who provide additional resources and comfort to students experiencing bias-related incidents beyond reporting the event. Please refer to following resources for guidance and support:
St. Thomas Moore
2150 Commonwealth Ave.
Faculty Staff Assistance Program—Human Resources Department
Marie Elena Gioiella, email@example.com
Office of International Students and Scholars
72 College Road
Office of International Programs
Sexual Assault Network
Helpline: 617-552-BC11 (2211), available 24/7
Office of AHANA Student Programs
Thea Bowman AHANA and Intercultural Center (BAIC)
Maloney Hall, Suite 455
McElroy Room 233
Maloney Hall, Suite 441
Dean's Office of each School
Boston College Law School
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Carroll School of Management
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Woods College of Advancing Studies