The University has a robust reporting system designed to empower individuals to bring forward incidents that are motivated by bias. Reporting an act of bias helps us understand the types of incidents occurring, biases that exist, and potential trends on our campus. By reporting, we can also respond accordingly to provide support, intervention or education. All campus community members are encouraged to report an incident they observe or experience.
What Is Bias?
Bias is defined as behavior that constitutes an expression of hostility against a person or property of another because of targeted person’s individual or group’s actual or perceived creed, ethnicity, citizenship, sexual orientation, reproductive health decisions, national origin, sex, gender, pregnancy, disability, marital status, political or social affiliation, age, race, color, veteran status, military status, religion, sexual orientation, domestic violence status, genetic information, gender identity, and/or gender expression. While it isn’t always easy to recognize, bias can be present in the classroom, workplace, and media, and often stems from fear, misunderstanding, hatred, and stereotypes.
Examples of bias behaviors and actions may include the use of microaggressions, slurs, or other offensive language towards something or someone.
How Do I Report Bias?
Any student, staff, faculty, alumni or visitor can report an incident motivated by bias by using the STOP Bias Report Form.
We encourage everyone to use our report form. If preferred, campus community members can also make a report to the Department of Public Safety (DPS).
What Happens When I Report Using the STOP Bias Form?
Once you submit a report, a member of the Community Standards Bias Response Team (BRT) will contact you, if you provided contact information, within three business days to offer support and resources, gather any additional information and develop an individualized support and potential response plan. From there, the Community Standards staff determine which campus partners might need to be involved and connect with those partners to ensure the situation is addressed effectively.
Reporting Frequently Asked Questions
Any language or act which you believe may be motivated by bias can be reported through the reporting form. This may include actions, behaviors, or language that are motivated by bias, whether intentional or unintentional. For example: verbal threat, verbal or writing slurs, microaggressions, harassment based on identity, physical assault, vandalism, or derogatory language or insults.
Any person who decides to report an incident of bias always has the option to report anonymously; however, reporting anonymously may impact our team’s ability to effectively address the situation and may limit what supports we are able to offer.
While individuals always have the option to report anonymously, we ask that they provide identifying information about the accused party in as much detail as possible. If you are unaware of the accused party’s identity, please provide other details such as when and where the incident occurred.
While you can choose to remain anonymous, reports themselves are not anonymous. However, we treat all reports with appropriate confidentiality. This means your identity will be kept confidential and only shared on a need-to-know basis with relevant parties, such as Community Standards and other partnering offices. The report will not be shared with other students or the community unless there is a direct threat to the safety of individuals or the community, and in such circumstances your name will not be disclosed. Your decision to remain anonymous will be respected to the greatest extent possible while still taking appropriate action to address the reported incident and protect the greater community.
Yes, reporting is private. We understand the importance of privacy and take it seriously when handling reports. When you report an incident, your identity and the information you provide will be treated as confidential. This information may be shared with other University partners, such as the Department of Public Safety or the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. It's important to note that in some cases, we may need to take action to protect the greater community, even if it means revealing certain details from the report while ensuring the privacy of those involved.
Bias incidents that are reported using the reporting form are not shared with the community, to preserve the integrity of our process and the confidentiality of involved parties. However, should an incident threaten the safety or security of the campus community, DPS may step in to share specific details of the incident with the University community while still preserving confidentiality as to personally-identifying information. DPS may withhold information if there is an on-going investigation and such public disclosure would jeopardize that process.
Yes, if you report a concern, you can opt out of further contact. We recognize that impacted parties may find it important to report, but ultimately want to move on and move forward from the situation without having to participate in any follow up action with our staff. In the reporting form, there is a section where you can select “do not contact me” to opt out of further contact. You can also be specific in the type of follow up you want in your narrative.
What Steps Are Taken To Ensure That Reported Incidents Are Taken Seriously And Addressed Appropriately?
Community Standards takes bias incident reports very seriously. The team offers outreach and support to those who may be impacted by the incident, provides follow up and educational opportunities to those who may have committed acts of bias (which may include referral to the student conduct process), and communicates effectively with all parties and community members when appropriate. If an alleged party is found responsible through the student conduct process, appropriate disciplinary actions may be taken. The team also gathers data to determine what trends and patterns may be occurring to better address such incidents, and educate the community about bias incidents on campus.
Response plans are customized to the incident and needs of the community. They may include, but are not limited to, one-on-one meetings, dialogue opportunities and educational interventions.
The University works collaboratively with departments across campus to ensure proper action is taken and appropriate information is shared when it comes to potential campus-wide impact. We work closely with all our campus partners to provide support to the specific community that may have been impacted by the incident. The Bias Response Team responses to bias incidents and provides support to any impacted parties and communities. The group meets to review, assess, and update bias cases and works to develop and enhance response strategies and practices.
Syracuse University is committed to open inquiry and academic freedom. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to explore new ideas and theories and discuss and robustly debate often contentious issues of the day. At the same time, we also seek to be a community welcoming to all. Discourse that some may find contrary or offensive to their personal beliefs may nonetheless be protected expression. However, bias-motivated expression or conduct, including harassment that targets a person or group based on protected characteristics, is inconsistent with intellectual exploration and respectful discourse, and may be subject to review by Community Standards or Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services to determine if a University policy has been violated.
What Happens When A Report Is Received?
Community Standards reviews reports submitted via the STOP Bias Form and investigations are conducted on a case-by-case basis based on the available information. Community Standards works collaboratively with campus partners to conduct a thorough investigation and gauges greater impact on the campus and community safety. If there are no identified parties listed in the report, DPS conducts general investigations with attention to the location where the incident may have occurred.
Based on information collected, if an accused student is identified, and if a potential policy violation may exist, a student will be referred to the student conduct process and provided appropriate due process. If no policy violation appears to exist, a student may be offered an educational opportunity. Reports in which the accused is a faculty or staff member are referred to the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services.
Conduct Process Frequently Asked Questions
Syracuse University is an educational institution that focuses on the safety of its community and fosters conversations and experiences that allow for challenge and growth. Incidents and the outcomes are unique. If an accused individual is not found to have committed a policy violation, they may be offered an educational opportunity.
Depending on the severity of the incident, as well as mitigating/aggravating factors, outcomes for accused individuals who are referred to the conduct process can range from educational interventions and probationary status to restriction of privileges, suspension, expulsion, or termination (employees) as appropriate and in accordance with all University policies and procedures.
Students who are accused of having committed an act motivated by bias have the opportunity to share their perspective and provide additional information in the investigation and/or conduct process.
Students who go through the conduct process may need to participate in an informal or formal hearing where they can provide any relevant information, including witnesses. Students can be advised throughout the process by a procedural advisor. Procedural advisors must be full-time members of the Syracuse University community.
If an accused party believes they are encountering any retaliation through the process, they are welcome to report concerns to Community Standards, their hearing officer, or their procedural advisor.
If a student is found responsible for a policy violation under the Student Conduct Code, they have the right to appeal that decision as outlined in the Student Conduct System Handbook.
Community Standards will reach out to you via email if you are reported to have been involved in a bias-motivated incident. The letter will specify a date and time for you to meet with a staff member to gather more information about the incident, to explain our policies and process including your right to have a Procedural Advisor, and offer any necessary support. We encourage all parties to reach out to STOP Bias and Hate staff in Community Standards via phone at 315.443.3728 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org if they have any questions.
Can Parents, Family Members or Attorneys Attend Meetings With Me If I Am Contacted About An Incident Or Receive A Letter From Community Standards?
While students may be advised throughout the process by a procedural advisor, procedural advisors must be full-time members of the Syracuse University community. Students may receive counsel from a parent, family member, attorney, or other party, but such individuals may not participate in the formal conduct process.
Parents, guardians, and other family members are encouraged to support their student through the process. Some ways you can support your student include:
- Speak with your student regarding the situation. Make sure that you listen carefully and critically.
- Discuss with your student your expectations for their behavior at Syracuse University. Discuss ways your student can modify their behavior to meet those expectations.
- Brainstorm with your student appropriate resources for help and support (e.g., personal counseling, etc.).
- Let your student know where you stand regarding their behavior, while continuing to support them emotionally.
- Brainstorm with your student ways to overcome past mistakes.
- Be firm in your approach but always keep the lines of communication open.
STOP Bias Reporting Aggregated Data
Syracuse University offers a robust reporting system that individuals can use to bring forward incidents they believe were motivated by bias. We appreciate and are proud of the culture we have on campus where members of our community have felt empowered and comfortable to report issues of all types to the University, aiding in our efforts to maintain a supportive, welcoming environment for all.
The University has published Spring 2023 Bias Incident Report Data reflecting reports submitted through the STOP Bias Report Form. This data is inclusive of all reports submitted through the portal, including reports submitted anonymously, reports where the accused is not identified, reports submitted by those who have experienced or witnessed an incident, and reports where an incident may not violate University policy.
The Department of Public Safety publishes information on bias reports submitted directly to them. Reports to STOP Bias and Hate are not included in the Department of Public Safety’s bias incident tracker unless the reporter chooses to refer the incident to the Department of Public Safety, or the nature of the incident requires Department of Public Safety involvement. To report an incident directly to the Department of Public Safety, please refer to the options on the report a crime page.
- View the Fall 2022 Aggregated Data.