Georgetown student paper begins documenting ‘bias’ incidents

Georgetown University’s school newspaper is teaming up with a national non-profit to tell the personal stories of students who have experienced bias-related incidents.

According to a recent call for stories, The Hoya will be working with ProPublica, an independent, nonprofit newsroom, to document instances of hate crimes and “bias-related instances” at the university.

[RELATED: University lowers ‘civility flag’ to mourn bias incidents]

While The Hoya acknowledges that students already have multiple resources for reporting such instances, including the Georgetown University Police Department and the school’s bias-reporting form, it hopes that its new collaboration will bring such stories to the public.

“Through ProPublica’s Documenting Hate Project, victims and witnesses of hate crimes or bias incidents can speak to reporters at The Hoya about their experiences to the extent they feel comfortable doing so, which helps journalists better track incidents and identify bias at Georgetown,” the appeal explains.

The Hoya then provides a form for victims or witnesses of bias-incidents to complete, asking them to relate whether the incident was “something that happened to me” or “to someone I know,” and whether it was something that “I witnessed” or “saw online,” with “hate speech” being the first of several options for actions that “most closely describes” the incident.

“Hate speech and crime is up nationwide, including on college campuses. Last month, a BuzzFeed News investigation confirmed 154 instances of hate speech and violence at 120 different college campuses in the United States since November 2016,” The Hoya elaborates.

The Hoya’s new venture was inspired by ProPublica’s “Documenting Hate Project,” a nationwide effort founded after the “2016 election left many in America afraid—of intolerance and the violence it can inspire.”

[RELATED: University tells students to dial 9-1-1 over bias incidents]

Notably, ProPublica is working with at least 100 other national and local new organizations to spread stories of bias, including The Boston Globe, The New York Times, and Vox.

“At this point, there is simply no reliable national data on hate crimes. And no government agency documents lower-level incidents of harassment and intimidation, such as online or real-life bullying,” ProPublica states in a description of the project. “That’s why we have marshaled a national coalition of news organizations, civil-rights groups, and technology companies intent on creating a database of reported hate crimes or bias incidents.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski