Original Date: 5/18/2007 * Last Revision Effective: 2/5/2015
Policy Contact: Vice President of Equity & Pluralism
When a hate crime 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. No college is immune to the risk of hate motivated violence or bias incidents.
The college has instituted governing structures as well as policy and procedure to ensure that institutional practice rigorously supports this commitment to inclusion, equity, and pluralism. Nevertheless, at Bellevue College, as elsewhere, incidents springing from bias, hate, and/or prejudice present potential risks for the college community. Such incidents cause pain to victims and undermine pluralistic policy and values. The college has procedures and protocols in place to respond to different types of incidents, enabling the college to attend to the health and safety of students, faculty and staff, and the visiting public; respond to individual complaints or grievances; and adjudicate possible violations of college policies or local, state or federal laws.
Bellevue College’s Pluralism Policy, Affirmation of Inclusion and Pluralism Compact declare the college’s commitment to inclusion and its institutional abhorrence of policy or practice that diminish esteem and self-image of individuals, people and cultures among faculty, staff, and students.
The number of processes and campus offices that might be employed in responding to a specific complaint suggests the need for a proactive process to assist Bellevue College in fulfilling its accountability to students, staff and visiting public for effectively and efficiently addressing bias-incidents that negatively impact campus operations and educational activities. This process addresses bias-motivated incidents or hate crimes occurring at the college.
- BIRST is comprised of the following college officers or their designees and will be authorized to coordinate appropriate college policies and resources to investigate and resolve such incidents in a timely fashion.
- Vice president of equity & pluralism, coordinator, convener
- Vice president of student affairs, vice coordinator, back-up convener
- Vice president of administrative services
- Vice president of 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 programs, ombuds).
Role of Coordinator
- 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. In addition, the BIRST coordinator encourages person(s) affected to report the occurrence to law enforcement in situations involving crimes. He/she sees that appropriate offices, with the victim’s consent, are notified, to the extent allowed by law: vice president of student affairs (if incident involves a student, either as the victim or the perpetrator), vice president of human resources (if incident involves an employee, either as the victim or the perpetrator), student support services – counseling, and international student programs(if either the victim or the alleged offender is involved in that program). The BIRST coordinator maintains confidentiality, to the extent permitted by law, and provides statistical information and data to public safety as required under the Jeanne Clery Act and to the ombuds.
- A personal and often unreasoned judgment for or against one side in a dispute; to influence in a particular, typically unfair direction; prejudice.
- An unfavorable opinion or feeling, usually formed beforehand, without knowledge, information or sound reason; any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable; unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, generally of a hostile nature, often regarding a race, religion, national group, or sexual orientation.
- 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 using the bias-motivated incident reporting plan. Incidents that rise to the level of harassment can be/should be handled through existing harassment reporting processes.
- 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. Incidents of this nature are criminal; along with violating college policies, they are illegal and punishable through customary law enforcement channels. A hate crime is an actual criminal offence 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.
Relevant Laws and Other Resources
- Bellevue College Procedure #1460P Bias and Hate Related Incident Procedures and Protocols
Revisions 12/18/2007; 3/13/2008; 6/17/2008; 5/21/2009; 9/11/2012; 2/5/2015
All College Council
Last Updated February 5, 2015