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Bias Incidents

A bias incident is any discriminatory or hurtful act that appears to be motivated or is perceived by the victim or victims to be motivated by race, ethnicity, religion, age, national origin, sex, ability, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, veteran status, socioeconomic status, or language. This definition is used for reporting and statistical purposes only.  It carries no independent sanctioning weight or authority.

Examples of bias (and hate) include, and are not limited to the following:

Assault, Degrading Language, Epithets, Graffiti, Harassment, Intimidation, Microaggressions, Slurs, Symbols, Vandalism

Bias Incident Response Group & Procedure

Wichita State University is focused on its goal of “Inclusive Excellence”, where we become “a campus that reflects and promotes – in all community members – the evolving diversity of society.”  Additionally, “Innovation and creativity” and “Knowledge creation and dynamic educational opportunities” are two of Wichita State University’s distinctive values.  The university believes the fundamental rights of freedom of speech and thought deserve preferred status at our institution because they enable us to live out these values and are indispensable conditions of all other freedoms.  The university also recognizes the tension that often resides between freedom of expression and controversial ideas, unpopular views, distasteful speech, and offensive words.  

Although the expression of an idea or point of view may be offensive or inflammatory to some, it is not necessarily a violation of university policy nor the law. The university values and embraces the ideals of freedom of inquiry, freedom of thought, and freedom of expression, all of which must be vitally sustained in a community of scholars. These freedoms protect controversial ideas, differing views, and sometimes offensive and hurtful words.  However, they do not protect against acts of misconduct that violate criminal law or university policy.

When incidents of bias affect a person or group negatively, it diminishes the quality of life at Wichita State University for all of us.  Wichita State University takes such incidents seriously and will respond appropriately to reported or observed incidents of bias (or hate).

Common Questions

What is a bias incident or hostile climate?

Any demeaning, derogatory, or otherwise offensive behavior directed toward an individual on the basis of sex, gender identity or expression, race/ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, ability/disability, or other group or personal characteristic may qualify as a bias incident or hostile climate action. 

What are hate crimes?

Hate crimes are bias incidents and are criminal behavior. The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity." Hate crimes must be reported to the Wichita State University Police Department (UPD).  

What should I do if I experience or witness a bias incident?

You can file a report directly here. You can also contact on the office on the Resource List and submit a report in person. Your report will be directed to the appropriate office.

Why is it important to report bias?

Reporting a bias incident is a way to ensure the university is aware of issues that may affect campus climate. Reporting bias incidents ensures members of the University community receive necessary support and resources. This information provides the university with a record of current issues on campus and enables the ability to track trends, determine educational responses, and create awareness of intolerance as it relates to bias (or hate) incidents.

How can I be assured my report is confidential?

Our intention is to treat all reports and information confidentially to the extent permitted by law. Only authorized WSU employees will see the information submitted. The confidential nature of the information will be emphasized to all employees receiving or responding to this information. If you want to speak with someone about the incident without having any follow-up, please speak to a counselor. Resources are listed on the resources list. You may contact Counseling and Testing Services. The bias response team members and other WSU employees may have an obligation to report and follow-up on information provided. Counselors also have an obligation to report any situations that indicate there is a danger of harm to self or others; suspected child abuse; and/or abuse of a vulnerable adult. Please report crimes to the University Police Department.

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Additional Resources