To borrow from Dereca Blackmon, "Bias is the water, not the shark." Blackmon, a diversity and inclusion educator, provides us with language to help us understand that bias is everywhere. We are constantly exposed to biased messages, biased interpretations of events, and we all hold biased views. 

Just because bias is pervasive, it does not mean that biased behavior is excusable or cannot cause harm. Bias incidents are acts or behaviors motivated by the offender's bias against the age, ancestry, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, military status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or veteran status of another. A bias incident may not necessarily rise to the level of a crime, constitute a formal grievance or a violation of campus policy, but may still contribute to creating an unsafe, negative or unwelcome community environment. 

Whitman has a system to document and respond to reported incidents of bias. Our online bias response system can be found on the Bias Response website. Incidents of bias are reviewed by a team of administrators and, where possible, the Director of Equity and Compliance will respond or refer the incident to the appropriate parties to address. Information about the quantity and nature of bias incidents received by the college is shared each semester in Whitman Today and in the Division of Diversity and Inclusion's annual report. 

If you experience a bias incident, please consider utilizing our bias reporting system. The system helps us document bias and assess the campus climate. Your reports also help us identify areas where intervention may be necessary to ensure Whitman is an inclusive and welcoming community for all.