Bias Education and Response
Davidson College is an institution of higher learning and is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for all members of the community.
Students, faculty, and staff all play a vital role in creating living and learning spaces that are free from bias, harassment, intimidation and hate. If you have been the target of a bias incident (or have witnessed a bias incident) please complete the report form.
The Dean of Students Office works collaboratively with a variety of campus partners to offer direct services and resources to support impacted student(s) and communities, provide leadership in a division response and collaborate with institutional partners during campus-wide bias incidents or hate crimes.
Examples of division responses and resources may include, but are not limited to:
- Individual or Group Meetings with Impacted Student(s): confidential meetings to gather more information and support impacted individuals or groups immediately after bias incidents and/or hate crimes.
- Resource Referrals: identification of and referral to appropriate support services and resources (on- or off-campus).
- Informal Resolution: strategies for informal mediation through restorative justice or dialogue approaches.
- Prevention & Outreach: efforts toward campus awareness through marketing materials, trainings for student leaders and student-facing staff and support of program development in residence halls and by student organizations.
In instances of potential violation of Davidson College's policies, regulations, and procedures; alleged incidents will be investigated by the Dean of Students Office and may be adjudicated through the conduct processes when applicable.
The Bias Education and Response effort described above exclusively focuses on impacted college students and any questions can be directed to Dr. Denise Balfour Simpson, Associate Dean of Students. Bias incidents or hate crimes impacting Davidson faculty or staff are referred to Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Human Resources respectively.
Bias Response & Definitions
What Happens Following a Report
All reports submitted via the Bias Incident Report form are reviewed by the staff Dean of Students Office who will determine a a facilitator in the process. In the facilitator role, the staff initially assess what is reported and communicates with various campus leadership that 1) an incident has happened, 2) connect students to immediate campus resources, 3) gathers additional information if possible and 4) refer cases to campus leadership for recommendations on response. Please note it is not the role of the facilitator to issue public statements or determine conduct processes. Those responses are determined by campus leadership.
Resources, support, and educational interventions are primary response steps for students through the Dean of Students Office. Resources, support, and educational interventions for employees are offered by the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs or Human Resources. When appropriate, the Davidson College Police Department are also contacted to support incident or hate crime investigation. Based on the incident reported, the appropriate campus office will identify strategies for response. This may include referring reports to: the Student Accountability Process in the event of a potential policy violation, the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs when incidents involve faculty, and to Human Resources when incidents involve staff.
All reports are treated with privacy, discretion and in accordance with federal and campus guidelines. Any personal information obtained during the response process will be subject to disclosure only to the extent required by law, or as required for the college to respond appropriately. In instances where bias incidents or hate crimes require a campus-wide communication, any impacted individual or groups will be in communication with campus administrators to determine how to balance confidentiality and with transparency.
What is a Hate Crime?
A hate crime is a traditional criminal offense like murder, arson, invasion of privacy or vandalism with an added element of bias towards a federally protected class of people. For the purposes of collecting statistics, Congress has defined a hate crime 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." Hate itself is not a crime-and the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties. Hate crimes will be handled by campus police.
Examples of Hate Crime
- Columbia University Incident A Noose Hung on an African American Professor's Door - The New York police investigated the noose hung on Prof. Madonna Constantine's door as a possible hate crime because of the wave of bias incidents at Columbia University specifically targeting African Americans and Muslims. The offenses ranged from vandalism, intimidation, and threat of violence. Prof. Constantine is a renowned scholar of multiculturalism.
- Rutgers University Incident The Suicide of Rutger's University Freshman, Tyler Clemente - Roommate Dharun Ravi was charged with committing the offense of invasion of privacy, hindering apprehension, and tampering with a witness and evidence with the purpose of intimidating his roommate, Tyler Clemente because of his sexual orientation.
- Elmhurst College Student-Athlete, Faces Hate Crime Charges - Elmhurst student athlete, Myles Burton was indicted by a grand jury on charges he carved racial epithets into the window sill of another student's dorm room. He was charged with a felony hate crime after being accused of carving racist remarks - including "KKK", "Negro" and "I hate black people."
What is a Bias Incident?
A bias incident is also 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 BUT may not rise to the level of a crime. The college will not discipline students for offenses that do not violate college policy. Bias incidents include 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 work, study, or participate in college life. Bias incidents committed by students may be considered violations of the student code of responsibility (Section V). Bias incidents committed by staff on staff may violate the college's anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies and will be handled by Human Resources.
In addition, bias incident response is not intended to prohibit or discourage the exchange of ideas that occur in the classroom or workplace. As stated in the College Constitution, Davidson College is committed to the principles of free speech and academic freedom. In discussions of controversial, sensitive, or political topics, ideas may be exchanged in a way that causes others to feel bias. If this occurs, campus offices work collaboratively to offer opportunities for support, learning, and increased awareness. These opportunities are voluntary and are not intended to impinge on the rights of others.
Examples of Behaviors that may be Considered Bias Incidents
- Racial and Ethnic Stereotype Theme Parties - Student organizations and Greek letter organizations that host theme parties or Halloween parties that encourage people to wear costumes and act out in ways that reinforce stereotypes 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, i.e. females, religious minorities, racial minority groups, or people with disabilities are also guilty of committing a bias incident. Because of the power dynamics that exist between students and professors, students may be reluctant about confronting the professor about the offense fearing that it may negatively affect their grade in the class.
- Harassing Comments in the Work Place - Making sexual comments, jokes, or gestures may create a hostile work environment. Even displaying pictures and items that convey sexually inappropriate messages may also contribute to the climate in the work place. Various people can be negatively affected by these comments and images, including bystanders.