Ithaca College has launched a pilot program for a new online tool that members of the campus community can use to report bias-related incidents. The Bias Impact Reporting Form is intended to provide students, staff, and faculty with a centralized way of accessing resources if they experience or witness a bias incident on campus or at a college-affiliated event.
The submission will be received and reviewed by the Bias Impact Resource Team.
“When a person hits submit, the level of response will partly depend on the wishes of the person submitting the form and the seriousness of the incident being reported,” said Sean Eversley Bradwell, director of the Center for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Social Change (IDEAS). “One response might include a member of the resource team reaching out and trying to connect the person to any helpful resources. Should the individual need no specific follow-up, the bias impact incident report will just be recorded and added to a database of such incidents.”
He notes that this new tool will not serve as a substitute for filing and responding to formal complaints.
“The Bias Impact Resource Team will respond with support, resources, and options,” said Eversley Bradwell. “However, members of the campus community should still use the existing channels for filing a complaint that may involve—for example—a Title IX or criminal violation that requires a formal investigation.”
Both the Bias Impact Reporting Form and the links to where students, staff, and faculty can file formal complaints can be found on the college’s Diversity and Inclusion website at www.ithaca.edu/diversity/support.
Bill Kerry, director of the Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management, stresses that someone requiring emergency care or support should always contact public safety directly. This new system helps bridge a gap that previously existed.
“Knowing and understanding the resources that are available has been a missing step for those who have experienced or witnessed bias on this campus,” said Kerry. “In addition, this process will allow the college to examine what types of bias incidents are occurring, as well as where and when. This will help the college be a bit more strategic and focused when educating and/or preventing acts of bias in the future.”
The process begins when a member of the campus community submits the online form. Photos and videos can be uploaded but are not required. The information provided on the form is automatically forwarded to members of the Bias Impact Resource Team for discussion and, if requested, a response.
The members of the team, which includes those with subject-area expertise in bias-related incidents, are:
- Bonnie Prunty, Dean of Students
- Sean Eversley Bradwell, Director, Center for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Social Change (IDEAS)
- Bill Kerry, Director, Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management
- Linda Koenig, Title IX Coordinator
- Luca Maurer, Director, Center for LGBT Education, Outreach Services
- Veronica Fox, Assistant Professor, Legal Studies
The team will meet regularly as a group, and report to an advisory board that will include broad representation from across campus constituencies. The board will examine the data collected and guide/advise on process or policy changes.
The results from the Campus Climate Survey released in the spring of 2017 served as a catalyst for the new system. An external review conducted by the campus safety and security consulting firm Margolis Healy also recommended establishment of such a system in a report issued last February.
According to Eversley Bradwell, over the past year a cross-campus workgroup studied the existing bias response process, solicited broad feedback and ideas, and helped formulate the new system. IC also benchmarked and consulted with several other institutions that have developed such systems, including Louisiana State University, Columbia University, and SUNY Brockport.
The team and advisory board welcome feedback from members of the campus community on the pilot program.