BERT – FAQs

A bias-related incident involves acts, behaviors, conduct or communications against a person, motivated by the offender’s bias against age, disability, ethnicity, nationality, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. These acts, behaviors, conduct or communications may produce an unwelcoming environment. Bias often stems from fear, misunderstanding, hatred, or stereotypes and may be intentional or unintentional.

Both bias incidents and hate crimes consist of conduct that is motivated by bias. However, hate crimes involve a criminal act, such as assault or vandalism. Bias incidents do not necessarily involve criminal activity and may come in the form of microaggressions (often well-intentioned but extremely hurtful and biased remarks from others) and other noncriminal acts of bias.

According to the FBI, a “hate crime” is a traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias. For the purposes of collecting statistics, the FBI has also defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” Hate itself is not a crime—and the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties.

The Bias Education and Response Team is committed to fostering robust and respectful dialogue within our campus community. The team does not tell University members what they can or cannot do or say. The team also does not have any role in investigating or disciplining any community members for their speech or expression. Rather, the team’s aim is to provide resources and support for campus members who have been harmed by bias incidents, including those that may have stemmed from protected free speech; affirm the University’s values of equity, diversity, and free expression; and support the creation of spaces for more speech and dialogue around issues of social identity that affect our campus community.

The form will give you the opportunity to share the details of the incident including the impact it has had on you and/or others. The Bias Education and Response Team will review all submissions to determine appropriate next steps. Our priority is connecting those who have been impacted by bias incidents to the appropriate resources and support.

When you complete a report, you partner with Auburn to create an environment that values and celebrates our diverse community, fosters respect for every individual, and promotes the free and open exchange of ideas. The more information we have about bias incidents on campus (e.g., who engaged in the behavior, the identity targeted, where the incident occurred), the better BERT and other offices can focus their educational programs, outreach efforts, and responses.

With your help, we can continue to provide opportunities for all persons to perform to their full potential. As we continue to work towards providing excellent research and learning opportunities in a place as special and unique as Auburn University, we also need to continue to promote and support a community that is welcoming, inclusive, and conducive to the open exchange of ideas.

You can complete the online form found here.

After submitting your report, a member of the BERT will let you know your report has been received and provide resources for support. Other actions may include referring the bias incident report to investigative offices as appropriate, such as Student Conduct, Title IX, Auburn Cares, University Housing, Human Resources, the University Ombuds Office, or Campus Safety and Security.

The Bias Education and Response Team will collaborate with the reporter, university community members impacted by bias, relevant offices/departments, and administrators to develop an appropriate response. BERT’s work throughout this process may result in one or more of the following responses:

  • conversation with university leadership
  • restorative circle or conference
  • changes in university policies or procedures
  • statement to the campus community which acknowledges bias impact
  • educational programs
  • referral of individual(s) to campus or community resource
  • determination that the occurrence is not a bias incident

A list of policies can be viewed here (to be linked when posted).

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Last modified: 06/28/2021