Frequently Asked Questions
A bias incident is any non-criminal act motivated, in whole or in part, by the victim's actual or perceived race, religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability.
A hate crime is any criminal act or attempted criminal act, motivated, in whole or part, by the victim's actual or perceived race, religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability.
For an act to qualify as a hate crime, two variables must be present:
- A crime must take place;
- The crime must be motivated by bias against characteristics included in federal, state and/or local statutes.
If you believe you have been the target or witness of a hate crime, call 911 immediately or call the non-emergency number at 208-882-2677.
We encourage you to report regardless of whether you suspect it is a bias incident or hate crime. The Bias Response Team will determine if it is an issue of bias or hate and move forward accordingly.
While the First Amendment protects the free expression of ideas that are sometimes offensive, that does not mean the university is powerless to respond. Instead of trying to censor or punish free speech, the Bias Response Team documents and tracks bias incidents and hate crimes in order to:
- Assist the victim/target in receiving the appropriate services (if requested);
- Develop programming and training opportunities to address intolerance;
- Detect emerging patterns of hateful or biased activity;
- Make recommendations to campus leadership for the prevention of and response to future bias incidents or hate crimes.
Of course, people who commit acts of hate or bias that are not protected under the First Amendment may be subject to disciplinary proceedings or prosecution. Possible examples include physical assault, vandalism, trespassing, harassment, incitement, or genuine threats of violence.
Yes, the Bias Response Team can respond to off-campus incidents. The campus community and climate extends beyond on-campus incidents and occurrences and the Bias Response Team believes it is important to be aware of what is occurring in the community.
Regardless of whether you report an incident, there are many resources on this campus if you would like to simply talk to someone about what you have experienced or witnessed. You may contact any member of the Bias Response Team or a confidential individual to hear your concerns, such as:
A counselor from the Counseling and Testing Center (208-885-6716);
- An advocate from Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse (208-883-HELP);
A staff member at the Women's Center (208-885-2777); or
The University Ombuds (208-885-7668).
All of these offices adhere to a form of confidentiality and will explain when they cannot keep information confidential. They will assist you in resolving your concern or refer you to the appropriate office.
If you experience or witness a bias incident or hate crime, first ensure your safety and well-being and that of those around you. Should you feel unsafe, call 911 or Moscow Police at 208-882-2677. Once you feel secure, document as much of the incident as possible, which includes taking pictures should there be visible evidence. Make sure to submit a report on VandalCARE and attach any documentation that you may have collected.
If you are in a position to play a supporting role, keep in mind that victims/targets of hate typically have 3 essential and immediate needs: the need to feel safe, the need to be heard and the need to know what happens next. Do what you can to create safety, display empathy and then explore and communicate action steps.
Students who have been identified as suspects will be investigated in a manner consistent with university policy. Should the Bias Response Team deem the incident a potential violation of the U of I Student Code of Conduct, the perpetrator will be notified by the Dean of Students Office, and action will be taken by their office.
As with all reports, our process is as private as possible. The individual(s) who file a Bias Incident Report through VandalCARE will work with the Bias Response Team to determine whether to pursue a formal complaint. If so, you may be contacted to discuss the incident with a Bias Response Team member.
Regardless of intent, we review the impact the action/statement has on others, and therefore a Bias Incident Report should be submitted in these situations.