Bias-Related Incidents & Hate Crimes

Bias-related incidents can be any physical, spoken, visual or written acts of abuse, harassment, intimidation, vulgarity, or remarks of a personally destructive nature toward another person because of actual or perceived defining characteristics. This can occur whether the act is intentional or unintentional, or is directed toward an individual or group regarding: race, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, creed, age, national origin, citizenship status, workers' compensation status, physical or mental disability, veteran status, or any other status protected under applicable local, state, or federal law; or any other distinguishing characteristic protected by applicable non-discrimination law.

A hate crime occurs when a bias-related incident involves a criminal act being committed. These crimes may involve, but are not limited to: physical assault, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse or insults, or offensive graffiti or letters. Some hate crimes may violate Oregon and/or federal law, and the conduct underlying them violates university policies.

Guidelines for Responding to Bias-Related Incidents and Hate Crimes

Responding to concerns and incidents may vary depending on the nature and severity of a specific situation. It can include instances of protected speech that may generate harm requiring intervention with only limited consequences. Bias-related incidents may need to be addressed because they harm individuals, undermine civility and understanding of our community, or impede the educational process. Public discussion and education can promote awareness of prejudice and examination of the values that underlie the George Fox community. Some incidents are dealt with through the process of community accountability with appropriate sanctions.

Supporting the Student and Community

The University believes it is important to respond to a bias-related incident or hate crime with concern for the student or other person who has been targeted and the community as a whole. University personnel can assist the student or other person in documenting the event and explaining the options for addressing what has occurred. If the incident is a crime, the individual can be assisted in contacting the police. If the incident involves the violation of a University policy, the procedures for investigation and resolution may be undertaken.

Appropriate assistance is available to students who are targeted. University officials strive to ensure that the affected student feels safe in her/his educational environment and may, if appropriate, adjust or change course schedules. The University official may also offer help documenting the event (i.e. taking photos of the offending material); help in talking with/filing a complaint with the police; assistance in arranging counseling or other forms of support; or help, as appropriate, in initiating mediation between the affected student or other person and the offender. If it is appropriate, the targeted individual may also elect to participate in a University sponsored discussion about the incident, if one is held.

When bias-related incidents or hate crimes or occur on campus, they can strain the fabric of the community. University officials may consider what sort of communication about the incident is appropriate, taking into account various factors such as personal safety and confidentiality.

In some cases, public discussion about the incident can serve to educate the community and promote awareness of prejudice. Programs that address bias-related incidents can change a hateful incident into an opportunity for increased understanding and personal growth. In some cases, University officials may collaborate with other offices on campus and with students decide to offer programs that include one or more of the following: discussions, open forums, panels, films, speakers, and other educational programming. Among other things, these events may serve to help the community understand and address what has occurred.