Bias Response Team Overview
The University of Chicago is a community of scholars dedicated to research, academic excellence, and the pursuit and cultivation of learning. Members of the University community cannot thrive unless each is accepted as an autonomous individual and is treated without regard to characteristics irrelevant to participation in the life of the University. Freedom of expression is vital to our shared goal of the pursuit of knowledge and should not be restricted by a multitude of rules.
Members of our community sometimes express thoughts and perspectives that are perceived as false, objectionable, or offensive by others. Expressions that cause hurt or discomfort can, but do not for that reason alone, constitute a violation of the law or of University policy. Rather, the communications are assessed within the standards provided by germane University reports and policies, including the Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression and the University Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct, and statements that reinforce the University’s commitment to diversity, civility, and equity.
Bias Response Team
The Bias Response Team (BRT) is made up of administrators who are available to support and guide students seeking assistance in determining how to handle an alleged bias incident. Members of the Bias Response Team also assist the Dean of Students in the University in documenting and reporting incidents that occur on campus. Bias incident data will be used to develop community educational and outreach programs.
Bias incidents that can be addressed by the University Bias Response Team include any actions that are motivated by bias, even if they do not include the elements required to prove a hate crime or a violation of University policy.
Although the BRT can assist students in determining whether a violation of law or University policy may have occurred, and may refer students to additional resources should such a violation be likely, the BRT cannot initiate disciplinary action or impose sanctions.
What is Bias?
Bias is a pre-formed negative opinion or attitude toward a group of persons who possess common characteristics, such as skin color, or cultural experiences, such as religion or national origin.
What is a Bias Incident?
A bias incident involves actions committed against or directed toward a person or property that are motivated, in whole or in part, by a bias against race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes as required by law and that interferes with one’s educational opportunities or disrupts the learning environment.
The University urges anyone who has experienced or witnessed a Bias Incident to report it to the Bias Response Team. If you are interested in reporting a Bias Incident you may do so by clicking here.
What Happens to My Report?
Reports will be treated as confidentially as possible. For all reports containing contact information, a BRT member will contact the reporting person and if desired, offer a meeting to discuss the incident in detail, and explore a plan for resolution. During this meeting, the reporting person can expect to obtain information about related University policies, procedures, and resources.
Other University offices may be consulted as needed to ensure a proper response. All campus entities will adhere to FERPA regulations when handling reports and information submitted via this website. If the matter is referred for further action by the Dean of Students Office or another appropriate campus entity, the processes for review and possible further action are carried out with the same measure of individual protection.