Bias Act & Hate Crime Response Policy
For the health and well-being of the campus community it is critical that individuals or groups who are targeted and/or affected by bias acts are able to easily report the incident and receive services, as needed.
|Policy Number||Policy Owner|
|2005.1||Office of the President|
Bias acts encompass a broad range of negative behaviors that target individuals or groups based on actual or perceived characteristics and/or membership in groups. For the health and well-being of the campus community it is critical that individuals or groups who are targeted and/or affected by bias acts are able to easily report the incident and receive services, as needed.
2.0 Revision History
Date Version Number Change Description Referenced Section 6/11/18 1.0 New Document
8/30/18 1.1 Minor Revisions
Review Process / Approval
Action: Units Date Policy Review
- Ad hoc Committee on Bias Response and Referral
- Management Services
February- April, 2018 Policy Approval
- Executive Council
3.0 Units and Persons Affected
Students and employees (including College Auxiliary Service, Research Foundation and Chartwells employees) at the College and may be used to address conduct occurring on or off campus. The policy will also apply to campus visitors as appropriate.
4.0 PolicyThe College will take proactive steps to create an educational environment that supports diversity, equity, and inclusion and will provide support to individuals who report bias acts or hate crimes. SUNY Plattsburgh will strive towards creating an atmosphere in which all persons and groups can work and study free of bias acts.
Bias Act: A bias act is conduct that adversely and unfairly targets an individual or group based on, or in substantial part, a belief or perception regarding the race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, gender identity or gender expression, religion, religious practice, age, ability, or sexual orientation, ethnicity, veteran status, creed, marital status, socioeconomic standing or any combination of these characteristics. The perpetrators may be known or unknown and the act may be verbal, written or physical and occur on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus or within an area that affects the campus community. Activity protected by the First Amendment will not constitute bias acts.
Hate Crime: According to New York State Penal Law § 485.05, a person commits a hate crime when he or she commits a specified criminal offense and either intentionally commits the act or intentionally selects the person against whom the offense is committed in whole or in substantial part because of a belief or perception regarding the race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability, or sexual orientation of a person, regardless of whether the belief or perception is correct.
The College has established a Bias Response Team (BRT), which shall assess all reported bias acts in a timely manner to determine the appropriate response and to complete intervention steps in conjunction with the appropriate campus partners, utilizing existing College policies and established investigative and adjudicative resources, as necessary. The BRT serves as the coordinating hub of a network of existing campus resources, focused on ensuring an appropriate response effort in a timely manner. Examples of the BRT’s specific responsibilities include:
- Reviewing all reports of bias acts and hate crimes;
- advising persons or groups that experience a bias act or hate crimes of the possible remedies that are available to them;
- recommending or identifying educational, not disciplinary or judicial, remedies in response to complaints of bias acts that do not constitute a violation of college policy (e.g., facilitated conversations for those who were involved, passive or active educational programming for groups, etc.);
- referring complaints of bias acts that constitute a violation of College policy or hate crimes that constitute a violation of criminal law to the appropriate agency or department for investigation, and when appropriate, adjudication; and
- serving as the campus response and referral resource. The Bias Response Team does not possess investigative or adjudicative powers or authority;
- maintaining a record of bias acts and generate reports for use by the campus community; and
- developing and implementing a communication plan to inform the campus community about the Bias Response Team and related policies and procedures
If you witness or feel that you are the target of a bias related act, you may report it to any of the bias response team members indicated below. You may also report via the online bias complaint form (see Forms) , or report anonymously through the Silent Witness (see Appendix) reporting feature. If at any time you are in danger or feel your safety is at risk, please contact University Police at (518)564-2022 immediately.
If you observe damage or experience harassment, threats or a physical attack please follow the reporting procedures outlined below:
- Do not erase or clean it. Contact University Police immediately and an officer will be assigned to respond and investigate.
- If you cannot remain at the scene until an officer arrives, attempt to cover the graffiti with a piece of paper. Write on the paper that University Police was called and give the date and time of your call. This will alert others that University Police has been called and prevent others from making additional calls or erasing the evidence.
- If you learn of someone who has observed bias related graffiti, you or the person who told you should contact University Police to file a report. Even if you are told the evidence of this graffiti has been cleaned or erased you should still file a report so it can be documented by providing as much information as you have about the time and place the graffiti was seen.
Other Property Damage
- Do not attempt to clean or repair the damage.
- Contact University Police immediately.
Harassment and/or Threats
Contact University Police directly at (518) 564 2022 for immediate assistance. You may also complete the online bias complaint form however a response will not occur immediately. A member of the Bias Response Team will respond to your complaint within a 24 hours on weekdays and possibly longer on weekends. If you are concerned for your safety, contact University Police immediately and provide detailed descriptions of what happened, what was said, who was involved, and where it occurred. Also include names of any witnesses.
Report the incident to your supervisor who will then contact University Police and Human Resources for investigation, follow-up, and support as needed. However, if you are concerned for your safety, contact University Police immediately. See Workplace Violence Policy (see Appendix) for more details.
Contact University Police immediately for assistance by dialing 911 or 518-564-2022.
If you and/or witnesses want to remain anonymous, you may still report a bias act by using Silent Witness (see Appendix) on the University Police website. Confidential reporting can limit investigations, but it will provide a record that may assist officers in resolving other cases. Anonymous reports will also assist the campus in keeping a record of bias acts that occur in our community.
Procedures for the Bias Act Response Team
The online bias complaint form will go directly to the email of all of the members of the BRT. The Chair or designee will assign a member of the team to contact the complainant (when known) to collect additional information and to notify the complainant the report has been received and is being reviewed for action.
Complaints to University Police
When University Police receive a report of an act that may be a hate crime or a bias act, they will conduct a preliminary investigation to determine the details of the report and assure for the safety of the campus community. Hate crimes will be investigated and adjudicated through the criminal justice system as is customary and a notification made to the Chair of the BRT or designee. Officers receiving reports of Bias Acts will cause the Chair of the BRT or designee to be notified with pertinent details. Note: If a College employee is suspected of committing a Bias Act, the officer will consult with their supervisor or senior member on duty who will consult with a member of command staff, or in their absence, Human Resource Services or the Affirmative Action Office for direction. In all cases, the Chair of the BRT or designee will be notified. Follow-up investigation may be required.
Complaints to BRT Members
Upon receipt of a direct report or notification, BRT Members will complete and submit an online Bias Complaint Form and the online procedure will proceed as indicated above.
Procedure after Complaint
BRT Complaint Review Meetings
The Bias Response Team (BRT) will convene whenever there is a report of a bias act, or at least monthly throughout the academic year. Meetings will be held on an as-needed basis during breaks. Employees who have responsibility for an area in which an incident occurred or information pertinent to the report may be invited to the team meeting when the incident will be discussed. Examples include: the RD for a hall in which graffiti was found; the RD for a student who is the identified target.
- The Chair of the BRT will provide a report of the complaint. If other team members or University Police investigate the complaint they may be asked to provide the report. If an office other than University Police receives the initial complaint, a representative from that office may be invited to provide the report. Any action that has been taken (e.g., any investigation that has taken place, whether an arrest has been made or if there will be adjudication through the student judicial system) will be presented and discussed.
- If the BRT has established that there HAS NOT been a hate crime, the team will determine the appropriate course of action based on the information provided. This may include a referral to existing campus resources where applicable. If there is an identified target or someone who feels targeted, the team will assign a contact person to them.
- If the BRT has established that there HAS been a hate crime committed and a suspect can be identified, it shall assign a contact person to the identified target (where applicable) and refer the matter to University Police for criminal prosecution, adjudication through the student conduct office and other protective measures such as issuance of No Contact Orders, housing and academic accommodations and where appropriate, Interim Suspension.
- Note-taking will be conducted with details satisfactory to the committee for completion of a summary report for inclusion in an annual report.
BRT Complaint Follow up Action
- The designated team contact member will connect with the target(s) of the bias act (where applicable) and discuss any pertinent safety issues and inform them of all of the resources available to them including prosecution, campus adjudication and preventative safety accommodations where appropriate and lawful. Discussion may involve an educational response particularly where there is no process for adjudication.
- If there is no identified target (e.g., graffiti in a hallway), a team contact member may be assigned to locate others who may have been affected and inform them of the services available to them or other responses that may make the targeted persons feel safe.
- As more information becomes available, the team may develop additional responses.
- Assignments will be updated as necessary.
Closing the Case
- Team members will debrief about the event.
- Targets (where applicable) will be contacted and informed of the status of the complaint.
- The BRT Chair will designate a team member or other support personnel to complete approved record keeping forms for reporting purposes.
- Records will be held with the BRT Chair for annual reporting purposes
- At the end of each semester, the designated BRT member will follow up with targeted individuals to determine the level of satisfaction with the outcome.
Related Policies and Procedures
10.0 Distribution and Training
Method Date Campus Handbook 7/11/18 Faculty / Staff Digest 7/17/18 Student Digest 7/17/18 Other N/A
There are no specific trainings identified with this policy.
For additional information about this policy, please contact the Policy Owner listed above.