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 real or perceived race, color, creed, religion, sex, gender, national origin, citizenship, ethnicity, marital status, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, political affiliation, reproductive health decisions and/or veteran status. 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.

Reported bias or hate incidents that violate University policy, or state, local, or federal law will be investigated and adjudicated according to the procedures described in the Student Conduct System Handbook or applicable faculty and staff policies. However, not all reported bias or hate incidents will constitute a violation of University policy or the law. The University will respond to such incidents by connecting impacted parties and communities with appropriate education, support, and resources.

Examples of Bias

  • Telling jokes based on a stereotype
  • Racist or derogatory graffiti or images/drawings
  • Calling a person or a behavior “gay” as an insult
  • Using a racial, ethnic, or other slur to identify someone
  • Making a joke about someone being deaf, hard of hearing, blind, etc.
  • Imitating someone with any kind of disability, or imitating someone’s cultural norm or practice
  • Making comments on social media about someone’s disability, ethnicity, race, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, or political affiliations/beliefs

Bias-related or hate incidents and hate crimes both involve behavior that is motivated by bias. However, it is important to note the distinction between the two.

Hate crimes are motivated by bias, but they include a definable crime, such as: threats of violence, property damage, personal injury, or other illegal conduct. A hate crime is an infraction of the law and will be addressed accordingly. Please report hate crimes to the Department of Public Safety at 315.443.2224 or #SU (#78) from a cell phone.

Bias-related or hate incidents, while abhorrent and intolerable, do not meet the necessary elements required to prove a crime. However, bias-related or hate incidents do require the active participation of a community committed to fundamental human dignity and equality to successfully address them.