Bias Response Team Investigates Reports of Unacceptable Behavior
By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
November 24, 2010
UNH takes bias seriously. There are a number of people on campus who deal with inappropriate behavior—the Office of Conduct and Mediation, for example, or the Affirmative Action and Equity Office. In the event of a complaint of demeaning, degrading, or harassing behavior, or actions that are considered hate crimes, the Bias Response Team is notified.
All share the common goal of making UNH a safe and welcoming community.
From July 1through Oct. 31, the university received 39 reports of biased behavior based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, race, disability or national origin. Complaints can be filed online at http://reportit.unh.edu/reportform.htm. If desired, the report can be anonymous.
Examples of biased behavior included anonymous and targeted acts of vandalism, slurs at a group or individual (whether in person or electronically) and harassment that interferes with one’s educational experience or employment.
A hate crime is one motivated by hatred, bias, or prejudice, based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or disability of another individual or group of individuals.
The Bias Response Team was created to address those situations that didn’t fall under conduct or legal violations, says Shannon Marthouse, a member of the Bias Response Team and assistant director of Residential Life.
“There were lots of incidents that happened in the residence halls, in the classrooms, that needed an institutional response and a place to send them,” Marthouse says. “I think we ran the risk of things not being reported because no one knew where to send them.”
The team consists of a core group and responders. Core team members review the reported incidents of hate and bias in relation to university policies and procedures, and assess the severity of the offensive behavior. Responders inform their constituencies, providing accurate information and, as appropriate, devising response strategies.
Bias Response Team members include Marthouse; Ann Lawing, Dean of Students, Student and Academic Services; Sean McGhee, director, Office of Multicultural Student Affairs; Donna Marie Sorrentino, director, Affirmative Action and Equity; Michael Vidal, chair, Diversity Support Coalition; and Nicholas Halias, chief, UNH Police Department.
To report a hate or bias incident, or to get advice about a potential event, contact any of the following:
For the full Bias Response Protocol document, go to www.unh.edu/vpsas/ or www.unh.edu/affirmativeaction/policies.html.