What is The Criteria For Selecting What to Report?
When the Bias Education and Response Team (BERT) receives a report, the content is reviewed to determine if factors of race, color, religious belief, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national or ethnic origin, disability, veteran status, or age are present and if there is evidence or information pointing to possible bias. BERT also considers the impact of a behavior and spoken or written expression on individuals, groups or the campus community that may not reach the level of a bias incident, but has an impact or potential impact on campus climate. Goucher’s governance protects an individual’s right to free speech and open expression. However, free speech does not justify discrimination, harassment, or speech that may be biased or hateful. Lastly, we report information such as general descriptions and location of the incident when relevant, but we do not report personal identifying information.
What Happens Following a Report?
BERT thoroughly reviews each report and reaches out to any affected person(s) and alleged offenders when known. Resources, support, and educational interventions are primary response steps. The response team meets weekly and as needed for emergencies.
BERT is not responsible for investigating or adjudicating alleged incidents of bias or hate crimes. However, the Office of Public Safety will forward results of their investigations to the Dean of Students Office for determination of disciplinary hearings and action where warranted. When there is a potential hate crime, local law enforcement handles investigations in cooperation with Office of Public Safety.
How is Privacy Protected?
BERT recognizes the importance of balancing an individual’s rights to confidentiality and privacy with the community’s need to know how the college is responding to an incident. All incidents reported to BERT shall be handled with privacy and discretion. Any personal information obtained during the response process will be subject to disclosure only to the extent required by law, or as required for the College to respond appropriately.
Confidentiality vs. Transparency
Occasionally, an individual may request anonymity or that information regarding a particular incident not be shared publicly. If there is no potential harm or impact on other individuals or the campus community, BERT will respect an individual’s right to privacy. In cases where the community needs to know, BERT will communicate with the individual to agree on mutually beneficial ways to make public the incident.