University of Oklahoma launches bilingual 24/7 ‘Bias Hotline’

Students at the University of Oklahoma can now avail themselves of a bias incident hotline operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to combat unreported incidents of discrimination.

“The addition of Greenwood Hall’s Safe Campus service plays a critical role in our strategy to effectively respond to incidents of bias, while at the same time assisting students, faculty, and staff at all 3 of our campuses locate university-sponsored diversity and inclusion resources,” OU Vice President for the University Community Jabar Shumate told EconoTimes.

OU students can access the hotline by texting in their bias reports, calling, or even web chatting one of the bilingual operators available at all hours of the day.

The CEO of education technology company Greenwood Hall, which has partnered with OU to develop the new reporting system, praised its innovations, saying the hotline will prevent bias incidents from going unreported.

“All too often, these incidents go unreported. Not only does this impact the safety and well-being of students but research suggests these issues can directly impact student success,” said CEO John Hall. "Safe Campus provides a neutral, centralized, and safe medium for members of the campus community to report incidents and obtain help in rectifying concerns that impact the well[-]being of the entire community.”

[RELATED: Carleton College profs call bias incident reporting ‘grave mistake’]

Several other schools have created similar bias reporting tools, most of which consist of a simple questionnaire, but OU’s 24/7, human-operated hotline will be the first of its kind.

[RELATED: Grinnell introduces ‘hate crime and bias motivated incidents’ reporting system]

The bias hotline, according to Shumate, was one of the demands of student activism groups on campus who wanted a more “confidential” reporting mechanism in addition to the several crisis services already available on campus.

[RELATED: Mizzou encourages anonymous finger-pointing for acts of intolerance]

“Our office has been working with a coalition of student activists who have expressed that they would feel more safe with a confidential reporting system to report incidents of bias and discrimination,” he told OU Daily. “We want students to feel comfortable and safe, and we want everyone to feel and valuable and respected.”

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