Bias Incident Response and Support Team (BIRST)
The College has put in place governing structures, as well as policy and procedure, to ensure that institutional practice rigorously supports our commitment to inclusion, equity, and pluralism. Nevertheless, at Bellevue College, as elsewhere, incidents springing from bias, hate, and prejudice present potential risks for the college community.
When a hate crime occurs on a college campus, the ideal of a college as a place for learning and growth is disrespected. Bias-motivated violence or threats targeting students and staff not only impair the College’s mission, but also deprive everyone of the chance to learn and work in an atmosphere free of fear and intimidation.
Because no college is immune to the threat of hate-motivated violence, BC has both (1) embraced explicit affirmations of tolerance and (2) created a set of protocols to attend to the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff; to respond to individual complaints or grievances; and to adjudicate possible violations of college policies and local, state, or federal laws.
E-mail the BIRST Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Vice President for Diversity, Coordinator, convener
- Vice President of Student Services, Vice Coordinator, back-up convener
- Vice President for Administrative Services
- Vice President for Human Resources
- Vice President of Instruction
Depending on the nature of the incident, the Coordinator may invite other departments to participate (e.g. Disability Resource Center, International Student Services, Ombuds).
- E-mail Birst: email@example.com
- Vice President for Diversity (425) 564-2300
- Student Support Services / Counseling Center (425) 564-2212
- Vice President of Student Services (425) 564-2205
- Ombudsperson (425) 564-2131
- Vice President for Human Resources (425) 564-2445
- Public Safety (425) 564-2400
- Vice President for Administrative Services (425) 564-2446
- Vice President of Instruction (425) 564-2442
- Police/Medic/Fire 9-911
Click on the link below to complete the Bellevue College Behavioral Referral Form:
- Q: What happens when a bias incident or hate crime happens at BC?
- A: The Bias Incident Response and Support Team (BIRST) will coordinate the College’s response and act as advocates for persons affected by such incidents.
- Q: What should somebody do if they’re a victim or know of a bias incident or hate crime?
- A: Report it immediately to the Vice President for Diversity or the Dean of Student Services. An incident involving personal safety or endangerment should be reported immediately to BC Public Safety or the Bellevue Police Department.
- Q: What are some factors that determine a bias incident or crime?
- A: There are many, but a few basic factors are:
- Is there evidence the event was motivated by racial, religious, ethnic, gender, disability or sexual orientation bias?
- Does the victim perceive the offenders’ action to have been motivated by bias?
- Have there recently been any other incidents or crimes involving any person or properties which are known to represent a hate group?
- Q: What is a Bias Incident?
- A: A bias incident is conduct, speech, or behavior motivated by prejudice or a bias toward another person that does not rise to the level of a crime. Bias incidents violate college policy and should be reported.
- Q: What is a Hate Crime?
- A: Hate crimes must meet two criteria: (1) a crime must occur, such as physical assault, intimidation, or arson, and (2) the crime must be motivated by bias or prejudice. A hate crime is motivated in whole or in part by the offender’s bias towards the victim’s status based on race, color, religion, ethnic/national origin, gender expression, sex, age, disability or sexual orientation identities.
- Q: What does the response team do when an incident is reported?
- A: The Vice President for Diversity (or Dean of Student Services) will convene the response team within 24 hours.
- Q: Then what happens?
- A: The college’s highest concern is for the emotional and physical well being of persons affected by a bias-motivated incident or hate crime. Persons affected shall have access to all college services that can help them maintain emotional and psychological well-being and provide for their safety. The BIRST Coordinator oversees the processing of reported incidents to ensure that the appropriate investigations are conducted and that appropriate services are available for the victim or witness. These may include: crisis counseling, medical referral, referral to a college counselor, providing advice on the college’s complaint process and procedures, contacting the victim/person affected within 24 hours and encouraging them to seek assistance. The Team will communicate with the college community and media, as appropriate. All hate crimes are reported to law enforcement via Public Safety.
- Q: What happens to the perpetrator of an incident?
- A: Students who have been identified as suspects will be investigated in a manner consistent with the impact of the incident, College Policy and the Student Conduct Code. Where there is evidence to believe college regulations have been violated, the college may pursue disciplinary action according to College Policy and the Student Conduct Code. The college reserves the right to pursue disciplinary action in the case of off-campus incidents, when the alleged offender and behavior involved threatens the health, safety, and/or property of the college, its staff or students.
- Q: Victims can be fearful of retaliation if they report; what protection do they have?
- A: No individual shall be penalized or retaliated against for his/her participation in the college’s complaint process. Any retaliatory behavior by students or others suspected of an incident may constitute an independent violation of college policy.
- Q: Why is it necessary to have a response team like BIRST?
- A: When a hate crime or bias incident occurs on a college campus, the ideal of a college as a place for learning and growth is disrupted. Bias-motivated violence or threats targeting students and staff not only impair the college’s mission but also deprive everyone of the chance to learn and work in an atmosphere free of fear and intimidation.