Manage Sensitive Incidents Consistent with Recent Court Decisions
Bias incidents, including hateful language, discriminatory actions, or an incendiary speaker, can quickly engulf your campus, leaving some students upset, fearful, or believing they aren’t truly welcome. It’s critical to have a clearly defined system in place for receiving and triaging reports of incidents alleged to be motivated by bias, a structure for swiftly analyzing and responding to them, and transparency with your community regarding what occurred and its ultimate resolution.
At the same time, the rights to free expression, association, and academic freedom of those whose acts are perceived to have been motivated by bias must also be respected as this assessment is made. Several federal courts have rejected efforts by some institutions to address incidents of perceived bias through Bias Response Teams, leaving institutions to question what is permissible in this space. Efforts to increase feelings of inclusion, support impacted community members, and improve the campus climate have also become politicized, adding to institutional concerns regarding the best path to follow in this often emotionally charged arena.
How can you confront and address bias incidents on campus in an evolving legal and political landscape?
Our expert presenter – Allen Groves, Senior Vice President and Chief Student Experience Officer at Syracuse University and renowned speaker on legal issues affecting higher education – explores:
- Various options for receiving, responding to, and publicly reporting on incidents that are perceived as being motivated by bias or animus against an individual or group’s protected characteristics.
- Best practices will be identified through critical assessment of systems and structures currently in place at public and private institutions, revealing the array of options available in crafting your own institution’s approach, as well as the risks inherent in some choices.
- Recent legal decisions on the subject, explained in terms of practical impact on the type of system you choose to adopt.
Articulate your team’s efforts to reduce bias within legal parameters, while staying focused on the larger goal of creating a welcoming, equitable environment where all campus community members can learn and thrive.
Gain crucial, actionable takeaways that will help you:
- Structure a comprehensive bias reporting and response system for your campus - respond effectively to competing demands when engaging in bias response work.
- Articulate your team’s efforts to reduce bias within legal parameters – be aware of the kinds of bias response practices that have been criticized or struck down in recent court decisions so you can have educated discussions on your campus about creating a welcoming, equitable and inclusive campus environment.
- Help campus members understand the limitations of bias work when First Amendment and state- and institution-level free speech protections are at play – gain strategies for providing swift support to impacted reporters/witnesses/communities when a bias incident is brought to your attention, even when the act at issue is protected speech.
- Understand the legal risks inherent in certain types of bias response or campus climate teams or structures, and how to avoid those risks in creating your own response systems – get options to increase critical transparency around reports received and the institution’s response, improving trust in the process while not running afoul of FERPA.
- Best practice around receiving reports and investigating bias incidents – know when and how you can respond to reports of incidents, including when investigations should be referred to other professionals on campus.
Allen Groves serves Syracuse University as Senior Vice President for the Student Experience, the chief student affairs officer of the University.
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Included When You Purchase
- 90-minute online session with carefully selected expert(s)
- Unlimited access to view webinar recording on demand
- Materials for your team (handouts, discussion questions, etc.)
- Certificate of completion for each participant
- Weekly newsletter – What's Working on Campus
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