Bias Reporting and Response
What is a Bias Incident?
Whitman College is committed to building a campus community that is diverse, equitable and inclusive of all students, staff and faculty. Bias incidents are acts or behaviors motivated by the offender's bias against age, ancestry, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, military status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. These acts do not necessarily rise to the level of a crime. A bias act may contribute to creating an unsafe, negative, or unwelcome community environment.
What is a Hate Crime?
Under federal, state and local laws, a hate crime is defined as a criminal offense committed against a person or property which is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender's bias against a race, gender, religion, disability, ethnic/national origin groups or sexual-orientation
Both Bias Incidents and Hate Crimes can be reported using the form but different process are enacted as a result of reporting.
What Happens When I Report a Bias Incident
Reports will be treated as confidentially as possible. If you identify yourself on the form, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Thomas Witherspoon will either contact you directly or designate an appropriate member of Whitman staff to discuss details of the incident and work with you to reach a timely resolution. He can also provide you with information about other resources that may be helpful.
While not all bias incidents involve a violation of Whitman's policies and procedures, a bias response team member can also help you evaluate whether you wish to pursue disciplinary action against a member of our campus community, based on Whitman's grievance policy.
Bias Response Team & Mandatory Reporters:
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion
Associate Dean for Faculty Development & Professor of Sociology
Senior Associate Dean of Students, Title IX Administrator, 504 Coordinator
Support and Resources
We can ensure that reporting people are connected to counseling and security resources if they are interested in that type of support. We also can assist with no-contact orders. Additionally, we can communicate with faculty on their behalf if they are interested. In my short time, we have even made special accommodations for a student to turn in final papers at a distance. Every situation is different, and we try our best to work within the parameters of what the individual student needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
The bias response process is not designed to replace or extend Whitman's formal grievance policy. Not every incident of perceived bias violates Whitman College policy or the law. Yet, many of these incidents can still cause harm to members of our community and we believe it worthwhile to work toward an appropriate resolution in these cases. In cases where there is no clear violation of law or Whitman policy, will expect resolutions to be educational in nature and not punitive.
Instances of bias can happen in many situations and between any configuration between students, faculty, and staff
- Defacement and vandalism
- Oral or written racial epithets
- Racially-themed parties
- Hate messages and symbols
- Objectifying a person based on race or gender
- Mocking gender expression
- Derogatory comments in workplace settings
- Mocking person's language or accent
- Mocking a person's traditional manner of dress
This list does not encompass the full scope of what could be considered a bias incident.
Anyone who directly witnesses or experiences bias activity on Whitman’s campus or in an area that impacts the community should intervene as appropriate (e.g., contact safety and security or call 911, if a crime is in progress), and report the incident as soon as possible.
Yes, you have the option to report anonymously. Please note that in preserving your anonymity, we are limited in the conversations we can have and the actions we can take.
Actions will generally be providing support and educational in nature unless it falls into a category under the colleges grievance policy. We also look for systemic connections of reports to improve campus safety and culture.
Whitman College Policies that Address Bias Related Incidents
Whitman College Confidential Resources
Counseling Center, 509-527-5195
Adam Kirtley, Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, 509-522-4449
Sexual Assault and Violence Advocate, 509-526-3032
Online and Other Resources
Walla Walla Mental Health Network, https://www.mentalhealthww.com/