BEST is committed to the transparency of its bias incident tracking system. Making data on bias incidents available to the campus community is essential, as the campus community itself serves as the first line of defense from future bias incidents. This page will be updated at the end of each fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) with anonymized charts and figures summarizing bias incidents from the preceding year.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often will these statistics be updated?
The Division of Inclusive Excellence and BEST will provide updates on bias incident reporting at the end of each semester. A report analyzing yearly activity will be provided at the end of each fiscal year (July 1 to June 30).
What happens once I file a bias report?
Once a report is filed, it is immediately forwarded to the bias caseload team, a subdivision of BEST. This team reviews the report and determines which office will take the lead in the resolution of the complaint. Cases may be referred to Campus Police Services, Office of Student Conduct, or the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance. You will be contacted by a member of one of these offices within three business days of filing the complaint.
What is an educational intervention?
The term “educational intervention” refers to a variety of intervention methods that aim to coach individual(s) who cause harm on the impact of their biased behavior, the historical context of such bias, and how to be more inclusive in the future. They are most oftentimes used for bias incidents that, although serious, do not rise to the level of a Student Conduct Code violation, substantiated EEO complaint, or hate crime
The nature and content of educational interventions vary as widely as bias incidents themselves, as interventions are tailored to the specific circumstances of the incident, the nature of the harm inflicted, and the preferences of the victim. An educational intervention requirement might be satisfied by:
– Attending a series of workshops on implicit bias, microaggressions, or privilege;
– Attending programming sponsored by African American Studies, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, or other academic departments;
– Involvement with on or off-campus community service;
– An assessment and improvement of cultural competency through the administration of the Intercultural Development Inventory;
– The hosting of a discussion and debrief session for a residence hall floor, class section, or student organization; and/or
– A combination of any of the above
What is mediation, and why it is used in this process?
In many instances, a bias incident is a result of a breakdown in communication between individuals. Mediation brings affected parties together in an effort to untangle this web of miscommunication, identify the core issue(s) that led to it, sincerely express one’s thoughts and feelings about the situation, and mutually develop a way forward for their relationship on campus. In other words, mediation is a structured conversation (or series of conversations) between the parties of a bias incident, with the ultimate goal of reaching a mutually agreeable resolution. If a mediation fails or is rejected by one or both parties, other types of response may be employed as appropriate.
What is an FYI report?
Not everyone who reports a bias incidents expects or desires a formal investigation by the College. Often, reports submitted anonymously or on behalf of a third party are explicitly submitted only for statistical or record-keeping purposes. We refer to these as FYI (For Your Information) reports. Such reports are just as valuable as any other as they help inform BEST’s long-term educational goals and plans.
What is a job action?
Job action refers to official changes in a staff or faculty member’s job description, location, or operation as a result of a complaint against them. A job action might take the form of mandated counseling, reassignment, suspension, or termination. Job actions are primarily administered in partnership with the Office of Human Resources, as there are union and state regulations that must be considered.
What are protected categories?
A bias complaint reported to the College is distinct from other conduct or ethics complaints in that the conduct in question raised allegations of discrimination on the basis of a protected category. TCNJ’s Policy Prohibiting Discrimination the Workplace/Educational Environment identifies more than 20 such protected categories. Examples of protected categories include race, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, and disability. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination details all currently recognized protected categories. Bias complaints must raise concerns based upon one or more of these protected categories. Complaints not based on such categories should be reported to the Compliance Office, Office of Student Conduct, the Office of the General Counsel, the Office of Human Resources, or directly to one’s supervisor, CA, or academic adviser.
What distinguishes a “bias incident” from a “bias/hate crime”?
Both bias incidents and bias/hate crimes cause substantial harm to our community and are antithetical to an inclusive culture. However, there are important legal distinctions between the two. Chief among these is the commission of an otherwise criminal act.
As the name suggests, a bias/hate “crime” occurs when someone commits a crime (e.g., assault, robbery, murder) that is motivated by hatred or bias against a protected category. For instance, if someone is assaulted because they are (or are believed to be) from another country, they are the victim of both bias/hate and a crime – hence, a bias/hate crime. Bias/hate crimes are under the exclusive purview of Campus Police Services, in coordination with the NJ Bias Crime Unit.
In contrast, a bias incident is any act – be it verbal or written, in-person or online, physical or emotional – that threatens or harms a person or group on the basis of a protected category, interferes with one’s educational opportunities, and/or disrupts one’s living, learning, or working environment. For example, if a Hispanic student returns to their room to find that someone has posted disparaging phrases about Hispanic culture to their door, they are the victim of a bias incident.
When reporting, however, you do not need to worry about these finer legal points. Any act suspected of having biased motivations or harming based on a protected category should be reported to the College via our online portal as soon as possible.