Boston College establishes Bias Incident Response Team
Following complaints of inadequacy in the former reporting system, Boston College Dean of Students has announced the establishment of a Bias Incident Response Team. The team is comprised of the associate dean of students, student government, student representatives, and three faculty members.
In conjunction with the team’s efforts, the school now offers a Google Docs form that allows faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students and any other individuals on campus to report incidents of bias with an option of anonymity. Those who choose not to submit the form anonymously are given the option of being contacted by the team while those who choose to be anonymous will be respected as not to be forced to “relive the incident.”
"...if we lose a sense of humor in society we are in big trouble.”
The form allows for screenshots of specific posts or messages that are felt to be bias and includes questions such as “which identity characteristic(s) do you believe the perpetrator(s) of this incident was targeting?” There is space to write as much or as little the person deems necessary, as well as the ability to detail where and when the incident took place.
The Bias Response Team defines a bias-related incident as “an expression of hostility that is motivated by a negative opinion or prejudice due to actual or perceived characteristics of a targeted person or group.” For each bias incident reported, the team reviews and determines whether a conduct or criminal process is the appropriate way to handle the case.
BC hopes to use the team as a platform for students to report bias, as well as gather information on which student groups face the most bias on campus. The school is also working to create an easier way for students to access the report form.
Michael Crupi, President of the Boston College Republicans, said he felt concerned about the details of the new policy entailed and decided to email the dean to request clarification. While Crupi said the dean did respond, he noted that the response did not include anything in addition to what is listed on the school’s website.
“I firmly believe that a university should be a respectful place with free and open debate, where ideas are attacked, not people," Crupi said. "I also believe that talk of microaggressions is mostly nonsense."
Crupi went on to explain why he does not support the BIRT system saying "it encourages students to ask the administration to solve problems instead of solving them amongst themselves and being independent."
"It also creates a false, and dangerous impression that the administration can/should police speech on campus to ensure everyone is ‘comfortable,’ Crupi continued.
“As for people who take offense at every little joke, if we lose a sense of humor in society we are in big trouble.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @MaddieGaldi