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OIED releases inaugural Annual Report of Bias

Majority of reported incidents came from undergraduates, grad students or staff

University News Editor
Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity released its inaugural Annual Report of Bias April 27. The report contains figures concerning the 23 reports of bias incidents to OIED from October 2018 to June 2019. It also summarizes the development of Brown’s Bias Reporting System and Bias Review Team. 

“During listening sessions, constituents from across campus agreed that it would be important to have a system that would get individuals connected to resources if they experienced a bias incident,” Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity Shontay Delalue wrote in an email to The Herald.

“The objective is similar to other equity and diversity initiatives in OIED where we are ‘committed to sustaining a campus culture in which each individual’s humanity and dignity are acknowledged’ as noted in the university (Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan).”

The University defines a bias incident as “hurtful, discriminatory or harassing acts that target individuals or groups based on perceived or actual identity,” Delalue and Director of Institutional Equity & Community Engagements and Chair of the Bias Review Team Shay Collins wrote in a Today@Brown announcement. This definition does not require an act to violate the law or University policy to qualify as a bias incident. 

According to the report, seven of the 23 reports received by OIED were online reports from individuals who experienced bias, while eight were reports by witnesses to bias incidents.

Of the reported incidents, the majority were reported by undergraduates (six), graduate students (five) or staff (six). There were no reports by medical students, though the report notes that there is a separate bias incident reporting system for those affiliated with the Warren Alpert Medical School. 

The most common types of incidents reported were of biased language, biased printed or digital materials and biased language and conduct, with eight, six and five reports respectively.

Nearly half of all reports 11 of 23 were made in April 2019. May 2019 saw the second highest number of reports with a total of five.

The University’s online Bias Reporting System and Bias Review Team were both established in January 2019 as a resource for “reporting, documenting and educating around issues of bias,” the report stated. The report’s purpose is to “increase awareness, promote transparency and identify any patterns of behavior that might compel intervention” following the first bias incident reports, which were received in October of 2018, according to Delalue.

The BRT is composed of representatives from many campus communities, and is tasked with ensuring “members of the Brown community who have been affected by bias incidents have access to reporting mechanisms, resources and support” according to the report.

The BRT reviews reported bias incidents and forwards information to the appropriate departments or units, which can include the Department of Public Safety. In addition, incident reporters can request to meet with the chair of the BRT to be connected with specific resources to assist them in case their work, research, on-campus living or academics are affected by the bias incident.

The OIED conducted community outreach before the launch of the reporting system, and has continued to publicize the system since. According to a University press release, “the distribution of this report is an important tool to raise awareness of bias incidents.” The bias review system relies on the submission of a PDF reporting form.

Currently, “it is too early to measure (the) success,” of the bias reporting system, Delalue wrote.

“Data collected via the bias incidents reporting system will inform future initiatives and serve as a barometer for campus climate,” according to the report.

The information collected in the system will help us to continue to improve the campus experience,” Delalue wrote.

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  1. Forever Brown says:

    Only two questions:

    1. What’s the standard for a so-called “bias” incident, since the definition “does not require an act to violate the law or University policy to qualify…” ?

    2. What’s the budget for the “Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity”, and the salaries for the “Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity” and “Director of Institutional Equity & Community Engagements and Chair of the Bias Review Team”? And the metrics for their performance?

    and one last question:
    3. Huh?

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