Bias Incident Reporting Team (BIRT)
Bias Incident Reporting Team
Creating and maintaining an inclusive and welcoming environment for all to live, learn, work and thrive is a priority at Cal Poly. The Bias Incident Reporting Team is part of our University’s efforts to empower a positive learning and working community. Through this protocol, we want to create a healthy campus climate and cultivate an institution where we both support those who have experienced harm and grow understanding and enable productive engagement across difference.
Statement on Commitment to Community
Cal Poly is committed to maintaining a broad and inclusive community that values diversity and fosters tolerance and mutual respect, in which all members embrace core values of academic excellence, open inquiry, free expression, and diversity. Membership in the Cal Poly community is consistent with the highest principles of shared governance, social and environmental responsibility, engagement, and integrity. We embrace and encourage our community differences in age, disability, race or ethnicity, gender, gender identity or expression, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran or military status, and other characteristics that make our community unique. All community members have the right to participate fully in Cal Poly’s programs and activities free from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation (bias).
What is a Bias Incident?
A bias incident refers to any behavior, action, or decision that is motivated by prejudice or discrimination towards a person or group based on their identity such as race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, or religion. Bias incidents can take many forms, such as microaggressions, or unequal treatment in education, housing, or employment. They can cause harm and create a hostile environment, impacting the well-being and safety of individuals and communities on campus. Bias incidents may be intentional or unintentional however if unaddressed can undermine principles of equity and inclusion.
Submitting a Report
Reports submitted online may be submitted anonymously. In these cases, the University is limited and may not be able to conduct a full investigation of anonymous reports due to limited information or access to the individual who submitted the report. Individuals who feel that safety is a concern or wish to report a criminal incident motivated by bias or hate crime may contact the Cal Poly Police Department.
What Happens After a Bias Incident Report is Submitted?
After submitting a bias report or complaint of harassment or discrimination, the reporting individual receives an acknowledgment of receipt and information about support resources available on campus. Reports are reviewed by the Dean of Students, Civil Rights & Compliance Office, and the Office of University Diversity & Inclusion. Reports that indicate a potential violation of University policy under CSU Executive Orders1096 and 1097, are referred to the appropriate office(s) for review under existing disciplinary processes. If the incident does not rise to the level of crime or disciplinary process, the BIRT reviewing offices identify necessary response strategies in partnership with the perspective areas in question of the incident. Not every experience can or should be addressed through a disciplinary process, but there are campus resources available to help individuals manage the experience.
How to Report
Anyone who has knowledge of or has experienced a bias incident, on or off campus, involving Cal Poly students, faculty and/or staff, may report using the link below.
To report an incident of discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, sexual exploitation, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, or retaliation, contact the Civil Rights & Compliance Office at (805) 756-6770 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To report a crime, contact Cal Poly Police Department at (805) 756-2281 or email@example.com.
What is a Campus Climate?
Climate is a measure of the real or perceived quality of interpersonal, academic, and professional interactions on a campus and consists of “the current attitudes, behaviors, and standards of faculty, staff, administrators and students concerning the level of respect for individual needs, abilities, and potential” (Hurtado, 1992; Rankin, 2001). A healthy climate is grounded in respect for others, nurtured by dialogue between those of differing perspectives, and evidenced by a pattern of civil interactions among community members.
Campus Climate Advisory Council
The Campus Climate Advisory Council (CCAC) is a committee of high touch professionals that aims to enhance the efforts of BIRT and improve the campus climate at Cal Poly. The committee's impact lies in its ability to provide ongoing evaluation of campus climate conditions and develop recommendations for expanded engagement and education. Additionally, through collaboration with BIRT the CCAC will provide critical insight towards the necessary efforts required to inform the campus of the impact of hate/bias and empower the Cal Poly community to promote a culture of civility and respect. It is not the role of Campus Climate Advisory Council to investigate or determine whether a reported concern involved a violation of University policy.
What is a Hate Crime?
The State of California has defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property, or interference with someone else’s civil rights, motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnicity, nationality, gender or sexual orientation.” Offensive speech in and of itself is not a crime and is generally protected by the First Amendment, with some very limited exceptions. When an allegation of a hate crime is made on campus, the Cal Poly Police Department (CPPD) will respond and investigate.
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