Bias Incident Reporting Procedures
Clark University values diversity, inclusion, and an environment free from discriminatory conduct. The University embraces diversity of all kinds and is committed to providing a safe, respectful, educational, and work environment that is free of harassment and intimidation for all members of the Clark community. Clark’s Bias Incident Response Protocol is designed to provide information about reporting bias incidents and/or hate crimes and to outline the procedures the University will follow in response to reported incident.
Clark takes seriously all acts of bias and/or hate of which it becomes aware. To that end, the University will respond appropriately by supporting the target(s) of such acts. The response includes assessing reports; conducting an investigation; refer to appropriate department(s) that may initiate a conduct process; and advising the Clark community of the occurrence when appropriate.
Any conduct or communication motivated by hatred or prejudice that demeans, degrades, or harasses an individual or group based upon membership in a protected category as recognized by law or Clark University policy, including race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, genetics, physical or mental disability, and veteran or other protected status. Examples include targeting a group or individual, in person or electronically, with hateful conduct that interferes with a person’s educational experience or employment, as well as acts of vandalism or graffiti. A bias incident may or may not involve violations of University policies or state or federal law.
Acts constituting hate crimes, as defined by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 22C, Section 32, include “any criminal act coupled with overt actions motivated by bigotry and bias including, but not limited to, a threatened, attempted or completed overt act motivated at least in part by racial, religious, ethnic, handicap, gender or sexual orientation prejudice, or which otherwise deprives another person of his constitutional rights by threats, intimidation or coercion, or which seek to interfere with or disrupt a person’s exercise of constitutional rights through harassment or intimidation.” For purposes of this protocol, all hate crimes are considered a form of bias incident.
Chapter 265 Crimes Against the Person – Section 39 states in relevant part that it is illegal to commit a crime against one’s person or property with the intent to intimidate such person because of such person’s race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability.
Individuals or groups, who believe or perceive that they have been the victim of a bias incident and/or hate crime. Any individual or group can be targeted.
Clark University prohibits harassment/discrimination based on (but not limited to) age, race, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, and veteran status. This policy extends to all programs and activities, including admission, education, employment, and athletics.
The Bias Incident Response Team is a team of administrators and faculty who are committed to creating a proactive response to bias incidents. Clark’s Bias Incident Response Team includes the Dean of Students; Director for Residential Life and Housing; Director for Diversity and Inclusive Excellence; Director of Human Resources; Chief of University Police; and Dean of the College.
Any member of the Clark community who witnesses, experiences, or has information regarding a bias incident should immediately report the incident. In the incident of a hate crime (see definition in section above), university police may be involved in accordance with Massachusetts general law.
Reporting is important even if the offending party(ies) cannot be identified. All reports should include the following information or as much detail as possible:
- Detailed account of the incident, including date, time, and location
- Name of each person involved including witnesses
- Description of what you observed and what was said to the best of your recollection, including any specific language or terms that were used
- Name of alleged perpetrator(s) or a detailed description of the individual(s) involved
- Other pertinent information that may assist Clark University in responding to the incident
Any physical evidence should not be removed, altered, or tampered with until University Police can respond.
The preferred method of reporting is through the online Bias Incident Report Form. When you submit using the form, all members of the Bias Incident Response Team will receive your report and will act on it quickly. If you, or someone else, is in imminent danger, you should contact University Police at 1-508-793-7575 instead of completing the online form.
Reports may also be given to these members of the Bias Intervention Response Team:
Kamala Kiem, Dean of Students
David Everitt, Director of Human Resources
Alumni and Student Engagement Center, Room 404
Mary-Ellen Boyle, Interim Associate Provost and Interim Dean of the College
Lauren Misale, Chief of Police
University Police Office
Clark is committed to protecting the privacy of all individuals involved in a report of a bias incident. Every effort will be made to protect the confidentiality of individuals targeted and to maintain the confidentiality requested by the reporting party. The outcome of any reported incident will take into account the confidentiality of the involved parties.
In all instances where bias incidents are alleged, the totality of the circumstances will be evaluated, considering among other things the nature, severity, and duration of the acts and the impacts upon the targeted person(s).
This protocol should be implemented whenever a bias incident is reported or suspected to have occurred on the Clark campus and/or in our educational or co-curricular programs. Implementation of this protocol will serve as a mechanism to monitor the campus climate and respond to and prevent acts of bias and hate.
The Clark University Bias Incident Response Protocol shall be interpreted and implemented in a manner consistent with Clark’s commitment to academic freedom as described in the faculty handbook.
Upon receipt of any report alleging a bias incident, the Bias Incident Response Team will convene to review and respond to reported incidents. The team will meet as soon as practical but no later than one week following the receipt of the report. The team will assess the report, investigate, and determine the appropriate measures to be taken. Such measures may include, but are not limited to, the following: making a record of the incident, communicating the incident to the Clark community, pursuing disciplinary action through the student conduct or employment process, referring the matter to the relevant office for appropriate action, offering conflict resolution options, and reporting to appropriate internal departments and outside agencies.
In the event the nature of the incident warranted communication with the Clark community, the Bias Incident Response Team will also provide follow-up communication to inform the community regarding the outcome of the investigation and the University’s response to the incident.
The Bias Incident Response Team’s processes do not create a new category of prohibited behavior or a new process for members of the University community to be disciplined or sanctioned. The Bias Incident Response Team has no authority to discipline any student or employee. Bias incidents that violate the University’s Student Code of Conduct will be referred to and addressed through the University’s student judicial process. Reports of bias incidents involving staff or faculty will be referred to Human Resources or Office of the Provost as appropriate. The University may refer to the criminal courts any bias incident that violates Massachusetts law. Bias incidents that violate neither the law nor University policies will be addressed by an educational response that may include conflict resolution, led by the Bias Incident Response Team.