The College responds to bias acts, including hate crimes, according to procedures that have been ratified by President’s Cabinet and are reviewed on a regular basis; the procedures can be found below. Reports of bias acts will be reviewed by the Bias Acts Response Team; the names of the team members are:
- Miguel A. Pereira III and Julia Rizzo – Chairs
- Elizabeth Ackman
- Joanna Baker
- Lesley Owens-Pelton
- Paul Field
- Todd Kleinhans
- Toyia Sims
- Loona Richmond
- Shannon Wiley
- Corey Hayes
The Bias Acts Response Team oversees the responses to individuals and/or communities who have been affected by bias acts. The Bias Team Chair(s) is the first respondent to complaints sent through the online bias complaint process. Responses may include investigation and adjudication, as appropriate, by New York State University Police at SUNY Morrisville (NYSUP), the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, and/or the Affirmative Action Office. Other kinds of responses (e.g., passive or active programming about bias acts, facilitated meetings among those who have perpetrated bias acts and those who have been targeted, etc.) are arranged on a case-by-case basis. Persons or communities who have been targeted will be contacted by a member of the team to discuss possible responses and options for investigation and adjudication.
For information about bias acts and the College’s response, please contact a member of the Bias Acts Response Team, or contact one of these Bias Acts Response Offices:
- NYSUP, Brooks Hall - 315.684.6410
- Affirmative Action Office, Brooks Hall 315 - 315.684.6829
- Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, Helyar Hall - 315.684.6070
- Office of Student Affairs, Helyar Hall - 315.684.6981
- Title IX Office, 315.684.6997
Procedures for Reporting Bias Acts
If you feel that you are the target of or if you witness a bias-related act, please follow the reporting procedure outlined below:
- Do not erase or clean it. Contact NYSUP immediately so that an officer will take photographs and/or record the contents of the graffiti, as well as collect any other evidence available.
- If you cannot remain at the scene until an officer arrives, cover any graffiti/evidence with a piece of paper. Write on the paper that NYSUP was called and give the date and time of your call. This will prevent others from seeing it and making additional calls or erasing the evidence.
- If you are told by someone that they observed bias-related graffiti, you or the person who told you should contact NYSUP. However, if you are told that the evidence of this graffiti has been cleaned or erased you should contact the Chief Diversity Officer and provide as much information as you have about the time and place the graffiti was seen.
OTHER PROPERTY DAMAGE
- Do not attempt to clean or repair the damage.
- Contact NYSUP immediately for an officer to collect evidence and record the damage. NYSUP and/or Residence Life may contact an emergency maintenance staff member if the damage makes a structure unsafe.
HARASSMENT AND/OR THREATS
- Students – Complete online for bias complaint. Bias Team Chair(s) will respond to your complaint. If you are concerned for your safety, contact NYSUP immediately and provide detailed descriptions of what happened, what was said, who was involved, and where it occurred. Also include the names of any witnesses.
- Employees – Please follow the Workplace Violence Policy. This policy directs you to discuss the incident with your supervisor who will then contact the Chief of the NYSUP, and Human Resources for investigation, follow-up, and support as needed. For additional information, you may also refer to the Discrimination Policy.
- Contact NYSUP immediately for medical evaluation and assistance by dialing 315-684-6410. For employees, this also falls under the Workplace Violence policy. An NYSUP Officer will direct you regarding how to proceed.
- If you and/or witnesses want to remain anonymous, you may still report a bias act by using Silent Witness on the NYSUP Department website. Confidential reporting can limit investigations, but it will provide a record that may assist officers in resolving other cases. Anonymous reports will also assist the campus in keeping a record of bias acts that occur in our community.
Procedures for the Bias Act Response Team
The Bias Acts Response Team (BART) will meet on a biweekly basis throughout the academic year and on an as-needed basis during breaks.
- The online bias complaint form will go directly to the Chair(s) of the Bias Team. The Chair(s) will reach out to the complainant.
- When UPD receives a report of an act that may be a hate crime or a bias-related act, an officer will contact the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Chief Diversity Officer or their designees. If there is an identified target who is a College employee, the report will also be referred to the Affirmative Action Officer.
- Upon receipt of a report, the team leader will contact the individuals who have been identified as targets of the act to let them know that the team will review the report at their next meeting.
- Employees who have responsibility for an area, in which an incident occurred or a relationship with a potential or identified target, will be invited to the team meeting at which the incident will be discussed. Examples include the RD for a hall in which graffiti was found; the RD for a student who is the identified target.
- Team meeting:
- The Chair(s) of the Bias Team will provide a report of the act. If other Bias Team members or NYSUP receive complaints they will provide a report of the act. If an office other than NYSUP receives the initial report, a representative from that office will provide it. Any action that has been taken (e.g., any investigation that has taken place, whether an arrest has been made or if there will be adjudication through the student judicial system) will also be reported.
- If the Bias Team has established that there has been no hate crime, the team will determine the appropriate course of action based on the information provided. If there is an identified target or someone who feels targeted, the team will assign a contact person to them.
- Follow up action:
- The contact person will talk to the target(s) about safety issues and inform them about all of the services available to them. If there is an identified perpetrator, the contact person will review with the target(s) the options for going forward which in some cases may include adjudication. Cases may involve an educational response, particularly where there is no process for adjudication.
- If there is no identified target (e.g., graffiti in a hallway), a team member will be assigned to contact the reporter of the event and locate others who are related to the area in some way. The team member will collect information about those who may have been affected and will contact them to inform them of the services available to them.
- Follow up in team meetings:
- Everyone will provide updates re: actions taken.
- If more information becomes available, the team will develop responses to the targets, community, or others who have been affected.
- Assignments will be updated as needed.
- Closing the case:
- Team members will debrief about the event; a team leader will complete the written records.
- Records will be held with the Bias Team Chair and the Chief Diversity Officer.
- Follow up: At the end of each semester, the contact persons for each targeted individual or the team leader will follow up to see if the targeted individuals were satisfied with the support the Bias Team provided.
Response to Bias Acts and Hate Crimes
The College responds to bias acts, including hate crimes, according to procedures that have been ratified by President and are reviewed on a regular basis. The response includes investigation and adjudication, as appropriate, by NYSUP and/or Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. The Bias Acts Response Team oversees the response to individuals and/or communities who have been affected by bias acts.
Bias acts encompass a broad range of negative behaviors that target individuals or groups because of actual or perceived characteristics and/or membership in groups. For the health and well-being of the campus community, it is critical that individuals or groups who feel targeted and/or affected by bias acts can easily report incidents and receive services, as needed.
Applicability of the policy
The policy applies to students and employees at the College and may be used to address conduct occurring on or off-campus.
The purposes of the bias team
- Assist those who feel that they have been targeted in bias incidents to identify all of the remedies that are available to them.
- Provide educational (not disciplinary or judicial) remedies in response to complaints of bias incidents (e.g., facilitated conversations for those who were involved, passive or active educational programming for groups, etc.)
- Maintain a record of bias incidents and generate reports for use by the campus community.
One of the documents that accompany the policy includes definitions of bias acts and hate crimes.
The Procedures for Reporting a Bias Act or Hate Crime and the Procedures for the Bias Act Response Team accompany this policy and can be found on the College website.
Procedures for Reporting a Bias Act or Hate Crime, Procedures for the Bias Act Response Team, Definitions of Bias Acts and Hate Crimes, and Resources are the initial forms that are linked to this policy. It is anticipated that additional materials will be generated as part of the efforts to inform the campus community about the policy and procedures.
Definitions of Bias Acts and Hate Crimes
According to New York State Penal Law § 485.05, a person commits a hate crime when he or she commits a specified criminal offense and either intentionally commits the act or intentionally selects the person against whom the offense is committed in whole or in substantial part because of a belief or perception regarding the race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability, or sexual orientation of a person, regardless of whether the belief or perception is correct.
A bias act is conduct that adversely and unfairly targets an individual or group based on the social identity categories of national origin, ethnicity, race, age, religion, gender, gender identity & expression, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, color, creed, marital status or any combination of these characteristics. The perpetrators may be known or unknown and the act may be verbal, written or physical and occur on the Morrisville campus or within an area that affects the campus community. Activity protected by the First Amendment will not constitute bias acts.
Information about the College’s response to bias acts and hate crimes is disseminated through the Office of Human Resources, the Chief Diversity Officer, the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, and the NYSUP Office. Anyone who believes that they have been the victim of a hate crime or bias act is encouraged to seek assistance from any of those offices.
The above has been adapted from SUNY Oneonta.