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Bias

Committed to Equity: Guiding Principles of the Bias Reporting Process

As an institution of higher education, WCU has a long tradition of maintaining an environment that respects the dignity, rights, and value of all people and protects the tenets of freedom of expression. This includes free academic exploration of ideas, voicing unpopular views, and expressing dissent. As members of the University community, individuals have the right to express their own views but must also afford the same right to others. As members of an institution dedicated to creating an environment rich with learning opportunities that incorporates teaching, research, service, and engagement through on-campus, off-campus, online, and international experiences, we have a variety of rights and responsibilities. The University embraces and strives to uphold the freedoms of expression and speech guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the North Carolina Constitution. At the same time, the University has the right, under appropriate circumstances, to regulate the time, place, and manner of exercising these and other constitutionally protected rights. (UNC Policy Manual 700.4.2)

Students with specific information related to an alleged incident involving discrimination, harassment or intimidation of a person or group based on a protected class as defined by the university (see policies 10 and 53) are encouraged to report it to University personnel. To assist with processing information, individuals are asked to identify the "Nature of (the) report" as "Bias Report". Please note, concerns about the safety of an individual should be reported to a University administrator or the University Police immediately.

Bias Reporting Process

Once a bias report is submitted, the following occurs:

  1. The report is reviewed by designated staff.
  2. The reporting party is sent confirmation that the report has been received.
  3. The reporting party is invited to meet to discuss the report.
  4. The content of the report is investigated.
  5. Upon investigation, the matter is referred to the appropriate resource.
  6. The reporting party is sent a message regarding the completion of the investigation.
  7. The report is discussed by the Bias Committee and the appropriate information is posted online.

FAQs

A Bias report is a method by which as member of the WCU community can submit information related to an incident that possibly involves discrimination, harassment or intimidation of a person or group of people based upon a perceived protected class as deinded by university policy 10 and university policy 53.

Bias reports are important to the WCU community. WCU has the ability, desire, obligation and opportunity to provide students with educational dialogue as a direct result of actions or behaviors that are contrary to university expectations. Filing a bias report alerts university leadership to campus concerns and may result in the filing of criminal charges, Code of Conduct violations and/or educational opportunities.

Those interested in filing a bias report can do so online or in person by contacting the Student Affairs Office (114 Scott Hall East, 828.227.7147 or the Title IX Coordinator (HFR 520, 828.227.7116).

Report a bias incident

Yes. No matter the level of information, all reports submitted are reviewed in a timely manner and investigated to the fullest extent possible according to law and applicable university policies. If the person about whom the report is filed does not wish to participate in the investigation, WCU may be limited with regard to the investigation and/or response to the reported concern(s).

Yes, individuals are encouraged to report any concerns they may have related to a possible violation of university policy 10 or university policy 53. All reports submitted are reviewed in a timely manner and investigated to the fullest extent possible according to law and applicable university policies. If the person about whom the report is filed does not wish to participate in the investigation, WCU may be limited with regard to the investigation and/or response to the reported concern(s).

When a bias report is submitted, the Associate Vice Chancellor/Dean of Students and/or the Title IX Coordinator will review the submitted materials on the same or next business day. Upon review, the matter could be closed without further action, referred for conduct-related proceedings, referred for educational dialogue and/or referred to law enforcement officials. If a matter is referred, the entity receiving the referral will handle the matter according to established relevant policies and procedures until the matter has been resolved. Once proceedings regarding a matter are completed, the matter is referred to the Student Affairs Office for closure.

Individuals may contact the Student Affairs Office (114 Scott Hall East, 828.227.7147 or the Title IX Coordinator (HFR 520, 828.227.7116) for assistance with a situation.

It is true that the First Amendment provides citizens with an important, significant level of protections related to speech. This is true even for speech that some consider hateful, hurtful, objectionable, offensive or rude. Within specific limitations, the First Amendment does allow for time, manner, and place restrictions. However, WCU students are likely to be exposed to speech that causes them concern on different occasions during their time as students. WCU has the ability, desire, obligation and opportunity to provide students with educational dialogue as a direct result of actions or behaviors that are contrary to university expectations. Bias reporting is an important way to report concerns regarding speech and behavior on our campus community.

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