What if I Witness or Experience a Bias-Related Incident?
The Division of Student Life is committed to promoting respect among students and the members of the university community. The bias incident reporting form provides a mechanism for students to deal constructively with actions and speech acts that they consider biased. It is in no way intended to be a vehicle for censorship, or to discourage students from engaging in vibrant and controversial discourse about issues involving race, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, politics and related matters. The UW is dedicated to the “fearless sifting and winnowing of ideas,” which necessarily includes the right to express ideas that some may find upsetting or offensive. While causing offense for its own sake is discouraged in a community dedicated to the civil pursuit of knowledge and truth, offense is often the unavoidable byproduct of the interchange of ideas and opinions, especially in the discussion of controversial topics. Students are expected to deal with offensive ideas by engaging in counter-speech. Accordingly, offense caused by the expression of any idea or an opinion is not to be considered a form of bias with which this program is concerned. However, students who are negatively affected by what they deem to be hurtful speech are encouraged to talk with a Dean of Students Office (DoSO) dean for resources and support.
A bias incident is an intentional threat or act of harassment or intimidation — verbal, written or physical — that is personally directed against or targets a UW student because of an actual or perceived characteristic of that student. Expression of an idea or opinion that you find offensive does not, per se, constitute anact of bias.
If you have witnessed or experienced a bias-related incident, you can either submit a form electronically to the Dean of Students Office, or you may report an incident in person (click here for a list of office locations). You can come in person to 75 Bascom Hall and ask to speak with the on-call dean, or call 608-263-5700 to make an appointment. Staff will:
- Provide support and help in dealing with the emotional or psychological results
- Help you sort out alternative courses of action to stop the discrimination or the harassment, including meetings, mediation and written or verbal apologies
- Indicate whether your situation involves a violation of university rules
- Explain the instances in which disciplinary action can be taken; see university rules on Academic and Nonacademic Misconduct for more information
Please note that only students are subject to the UWS codes governing academic and non-academic misconduct administered by the Division of Student Life. If you believe that an employee of the university is responsible for discriminatory or harassing behavior, report the incident to the Office for Equity and Diversity, 608-263-2378, WTRS: 7-1-1. Staff will:
- Review the situation with you
- Explain the options
- Discuss the odds of prevailing in a complaint process
- Discuss confidentiality and its limits during an investigation
- Refer the matter for mediation or other informal resolution to an OED staff member, the appropriate dean’s office, the department chair, the Equity and Diversity Committee, or others
- Conduct an investigation, make findings of fact and issue recommendations to remedy the situation