Auburn University values freedom of expression and the open exchange of ideas. While openness protects the expression of controversial ideas, there are times when actions or expression can negatively affect individuals or groups. A bias-related incident involves conduct (acts, behaviors, or communications) against a person, motivated by the offender’s biases regarding age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity/expression, nation origin/nationality, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status or other identity. These acts, behaviors, conduct or communications may produce an unwelcoming environment. A bias incident may involve behavior which does not rise to the level of a violation of Auburn University policy, including legally protected free speech.
The Bias Education and Response Team (BERT) consists of a cross-disciplinary group of staff and faculty who will ensure that students, faculty, and staff have the means to report bias incidents. This group of professionals share information about incidents reported to the BERT, and advocate for prevention and awareness programs. BERT members will also connect those impacted by bias-related incidents with immediate and ongoing support resources.
The Bias Education and Response Team is a non-judicial team of faculty, staff, and administrators which supports members of the Auburn family by:
Ensuring that all members of the Auburn family have a means to report bias incidents.
Serving as a safe resource for members of the Auburn family to raise concerns regarding bias-related incidents, acts of harassment, and discrimination on campus.
Collecting information about incidents and providing an annual report of all reported bias-related incidents impacting the Auburn University community.
Advocating for prevention and awareness programs which educate all Auburn family members about bias-related incidents and reporting options.
Connecting those affected by bias-related incidents with immediate and ongoing support systems.
Working with university stakeholders to ensure transparent and open communication following the report of a bias-related incident.
Supporting opportunities for dialogue and restorative justice, when possible, for those impacted by bias-related incidents.
The Bias Education and Response Team does not:
Replace existing reporting and support mechanisms.
Initiate disciplinary action or impose sanctions.
Supersede the work of police or established campus investigative units.
Provide crisis or emergency services.