What Is a Bias Incident or Hate Crime?

Hate Crime

Any crime (or attempted crime) fully or partially motivated by bias against a person's ancestry or ethnicity, color, creed, national origin, immigration or citizenship status, race, religion, religious practice, disability, gender, marital status, actual or perceived age or sexual orientation.


Goucher College IncidentA student writes racist and violent graffiti in residence hall. Baltimore County police investigated two incidents involving racist and violent graffiti targeting Black students and staff and a Latinx student in a residence hall. The changes ranged from misdemeanor hate crime and vandalism.

Elmhurst College IncidentStudent-Athlete, Faces Hate Crime Charges - Elmhurst student athlete, Myles Burton was indicted by a grand jury on charges he carved racial epithets into the window sill of another student's dorm room. He was charged with a felony hate crime after being accused of carving racist remarks - including "KKK", "Negro" and "I hate black people."

Bias Incident

A bias incident is intentional or unintentional conduct that discriminates, stereotypes, excludes, intimidate, mock, degrade, threaten, or harasses or harms anyone in our community because of actual or perceived age, ancestry or ethnicity, color, creed, disability, gender, gender identity or expression, immigration or citizenship status, marital status, ex-offender status, national origin, veteran status, race, religion, religious practice, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, weight or any combination of these factors. (genetic, HIV status, rape culture, victims of crimes, residential-homeless) and not limited to.

Bias-related incidents, while abhorrent and offensive, may not meet the definition of a hate crime or Code of Conduct violation. However, these acts negatively impact our community and require an active response to ensure a safe and inclusive campus environment for all. Even when offenders are unaware that they have shown bias and do not mean to offend, an expression of bias deserves a response and can be an opportunity for education.


Bias in the Classroom – Professors who make pejorative comments or stereotypes about a protected class of people, i.e. females, religious minorities, racial minority groups, or people with disabilities are also guilty of committing a bias incident. Because of the power dynamics that exist between students and professors, students may be reluctant about confronting the professor about the offense fearing that it may negatively affect their grade in the class.

Harassing Comments in the Work Place – Making sexual comments, jokes, or gestures may create a hostile work environment. Even displaying pictures and items that convey sexually inappropriate messages may also contribute to the climate in the work place. Various people can be negatively affected by these comments and images, including bystanders.

Behavior reflecting bias may constitute a violation of Goucher College Regulations. The kinds of incidents that may constitute a bias incident include but are not limited to: threatening telephone calls or mail (including electronic mail), graffiti, physical assault, stalking, vandalism, destruction of personal property, harassment, or coercion. We strongly encourage reporting of all bias incidents and hate crimes that occur on campus or at college sponsored events and activities occurring off campus.

Note: All hate crimes are bias incidents, but not all bias incidents are hate crimes.