How Bias Incident Response Team Functions
The Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT) is the first response from the Dean of the College division and the College in coordinating responses to bias and hate incidents on campus.
Coordinated responses may include, but are not limited to measures such as facilitated dialogue between parties, facilitated discussions in residence houses or other campus locations, restorative justice practices, recommendations for campus notices for fact sharing, and educational programs and outreach. The Bias Incident Response Team is responsible for:
- Consulting with appropriate college personnel, individuals or groups to ensure that relevant information and context are provided.
- Supporting affected person(s) through appropriate referrals on and off-campus.
- To determine whether the reported act meets the definition of a “bias incident” according to definition.
- If the reported act is determined to be a bias incident, BIRT will consider available educational measures to address the incident. These measures or responses should not interfere with adjudication proceedings that might be occurring or under consideration.
- Notify the community of the bias or hate incident when appropriate. This may occur via email, website, posters, Miscellany News or other campus venues. BIRT will consider the full context of the incident and consult with relevant parties, including targeted persons, and the severity of the incident when determining the nature of such communications. In some cases, the nature of an incident may require communication from an administrator who is not a BIRT member. BIRT may also determine that campus-wide notification of an incident is not warranted and that educational outreach can yield more educational value.
- Recommending educational resources and outreach in response to the incident. Often the educational programming entails a network of administrators, faculty, and students willing to engage the campus in fostering climates of inclusion, equity and respectful discourse.
Vassar College strives to provide an educational, working, and living environment free from discrimination, harassment, intolerance, and hate. Such behavior will not be tolerated. The purpose of the Bias Response and Hate Crime Protocol is to provide information about responding to bias incidents or hate crimes that occur on campus, and to outline the procedures and resources available to members of the Vassar College community. It is not the purpose or the intent of this protocol to define whether or not an act may violate Vassar College Regulations or State or Federal law.