BIAS Team

 

If this is an emergency or you are the victim of a crime, please contact Campus Security and Public Safety immediately at (509) 313-2222.

Our Mission 

Gonzaga University strives to be an exemplary learning community in service of the common good for the development of the whole person. Gonzaga University’s mission states that the “Gonzaga experience fosters a mature commitment to dignity of the human person, social justice, diversity, [and] intercultural competence….” Therefore, the University values and embraces our rich community of people who represent a wide spectrum of faiths, ethnicities, cultures, identities, and backgrounds.

Acts of hate and bias are antithetical to the values of our mission and to Gonzaga’s commitment to cultivating an inclusive and welcoming community.

To that end, the Bias Incident Assessment and Support (BIAS) Team is committed to fostering a campus environment where everyone feels safe and respected. We include within that commitment a desire to uphold everyone’s right to freedom of expression. Our responsibilities include supporting people and groups who experience bias incidents (defined below), monitoring and reporting on those incidents, and recommending educational initiatives to minimize bias.


 

Understanding Bias

The BIAS team will collect reports on bias incidents and hate crimes.

  • A hate crime is a criminal offense against an individual, a group of people, or property motivated, in whole or in part, by an offender’s bias against a disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, race, religion, or sexual orientation.
  • A bias incident, on the other hand, is non-criminal conduct, speech, or expression motivated, in whole or in part, by bias or prejudice against an individual or group of people because of their real or perceived characteristics.

The exchange of ideas and free expression of multiple viewpoints is essential for our community. Ideas, perspectives, and conduct that some find offensive, insulting, controversial, or inflammatory may not necessarily rise to the level of bias-related incidents or hate crimes. Our commitment to openness and free expression, however, does not protect harassment or expressions of bias or hate based on social identity.

  • bias: an inclination, temperament, or prejudice for or against persons because of their memberships in a protected class, especially in a way considered to be unfair

A bias incident refers to language, expression, or conduct that demonstrates bias against a person or group based on their actual or perceived social identity, including age, color, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, marital status, military/veteran status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, etc. Bias incidents typically result in emotional discomfort, mistrust, insecurity, and distress for the targeted person(s) and may limit the ability of people to work, study, or participate in college life. They also damage our ability to create an inclusive and welcoming campus.

A bias incident, motivated by a person or group’s social identity, may include but is not limited to:

  • Discrimination or expressions of disrespect
  • Displays of hate symbols
  • Disparaging conduct or language
  • Hostile environments, intimidating comments or messages, and/or harassing behavior -- in person or online -- that is severe, persistent, or pervasive
  • Threatening behavior
  • Defacement of personal or university property

Specific Examples

Racial and ethnic stereotype theme parties

Student organizations host a party that encourages people to wear costumes and act out in ways that reinforce stereotypes that create a campus climate that is hostile to racial and ethnic minority groups

Bias in the classroom

Professors who make pejorative comments or stereotypes about a protected class of people, e.g. women, religious minorities, underrepresented racial groups, people with disabilities, etc.

Hostile work environment

Making sexual comments, jokes, or gestures or displaying pictures and items that convey sexually inappropriate messages

 

A hate crime is a criminal offense like murder, arson, invasion of privacy, or vandalism, with an added element of bias towards a federally protected class of people. Federal law defines hate crimes as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.” Washington State defines a hate crime as malicious harassment, crimes, and/or threats motivated by bigotry, prejudice and/or bias.

Specific Examples

A noose hung on the door of an African American student’s residence

This hypothetical hate crime is motivated by racial bias and includes a definable crime of threat of violence.

Assaulting a trans student because of their gender identity

This hypothetical hate crime is motivated by bias and may include several definable crimes, such as violence and personal injury.

The word “terrorist” keyed into the side of a Muslim professor’s car

This hypothetical hate crime includes vandalism and is maliciously harassing against a specific person or group of people because of their religion.

 

How to Report

 

If this is an emergency or you are the victim of a crime, please contact Campus Security and Public Safety immediately at (509) 313-2222.

Anyone may report a bias incident to: www.gonzaga.edu/reportbias

The BIAS Team will review all online reports and reach out within two business days if requested in the report and contact information is provided. It is best to report an incident as early as possible.

It is important to talk to someone if you are the target or witness of a bias incident. A list of BIAS Team members and resources can be found below at the end of this page.

If possible, preserve any evidence and document the incident as thoroughly as possible:

  • Photograph graffiti / written material.
  • Maintain a copy of a phone, text, or email messages.
  • Accurately document and date what was verbalized.

You may also report the incident anonymously. Anonymous reporting, however, may impact the University’s ability to pursue appropriate action.

Non-anonymous reports are managed as sensitively and confidentially as possible in that only essential personnel will be involved in responding to the incident.

What Happens Now?

  1. Once a report is received, it is reviewed by the Co-Chairs of the BIAS Team, the Chief Diversity Officer, and the Assistant Director for Equity and Inclusion in Human Resources.
  2. If the reporting party is known and requests a response, the BIAS Team will reach out within two business days to schedule a meeting.
  3. Any, or a combination of the following three actions, may result:
    • Support: Offer support via appropriate campus departments, employee benefits, off-campus resources, etc.
    • Inquiry: Gather additional and clarifying information
    • Education: Recommend a community message, campus program, town hall meeting, faculty / staff development, etc.
  4. If the reporting party does not want a response, and follow-up is not possible or necessary, then no further action is pursued.
  5. All bias incident reports are archived to help track and improve campus climate.

*Whether or not the reporting party wants a response, and if the incident is egregious, violates policy, or there is a pattern of behavior, then the BIAS Team will forward the report to the appropriate office.

Visual workflow of Bias Incident Response. See outline above for summary.

Past Reports

 

Resources

Current Membership

Joan Iva Fawcett, BIAS Team Co-Chair
Assistant Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, Community, & Equity


Matt Lamsma, BIAS Team Co-Chair
Dean for Student Engagement


Cortney Brewer
Assistant Director of Student Conduct, Office for Community Standards


Kem Gambrell
Associate Professor of Leadership Studies, Doctoral Program of Leadership Studies


Heather Gores
Associate Athletic Director for Programs and Deputy Title IX Coordinator


Sheryl Humphrey
Assistant Director, Hemmingson Center & Event Operations, Gonzaga University Event Services Team


Adriane Leithauser
Lecturer of Business Ethics, School of Business Administration


J. Alexander Maxwell
Assistant Professor, Civil Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science


Chris Purviance
Assistant Director, Equity and Inclusion, Human Resources


Raymond Reyes
Associate Academic Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer


Sasha Ross
Program Manager for Intercultural Development, Unity Multicultural Education Center


Jonathan Rossing
Associate Professor and Department Chair, Communication Studies


Taylor Jordan
Clery Compliance & Behavioral Intervention Team Coordinator, Campus Security & Public Safety


Michelle Wheatley
Assistant Vice President, Mission and Ministry


Jon Wheeler
Director, Residence Life

 
 
 

If this is an emergency or you are the victim of a crime, please contact Campus Security and Public Safety immediately at (509) 313-2222.