Report a Bias Incident


What is a bias incident?

bias incident is any act that appears and/or is perceived by the targeted person(s) to be motivated by hostility toward one or more of their identities (i.e., race, religion, nationality, sex, disability, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, etc.). A bias incident does not need to rise to the level of a violation of university policy or the law.

What is a hate crime?

hate crime is a criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offenders bias(es) against race, religion, nationality, sex, disability, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation.

Who can submit a Bias Incident Report?

The Bias Incident Report Form is available to EVERYONE to report an incident of bias impacting a member of the Valparaiso Community.

Faculty and staff – remember – You are obligated to report things you experience, see and hear as a responsible employee of Valparaiso University.

How do I submit a Bias Incident Report?

If you have experienced, witnessed, or been informed about an incident of bias and/or hate, you have three options to submit a report.

  1.  An online report form is available at Once the online form has been completed, the Bias Incident Response Team (B.I.R.T) will receive an email notification and assign Discrimination Complaint Advisors (D.C.A’s) to your case.
  2. You may submit a phone report by calling Valparaiso University Police Department (VUPD) at 219.464.5430. VUPD is available 24/7.
  3. You can request an in-person report be submitted by speaking directly to any Valparaiso University Faculty or Staff member.

Please use this form to report an incident of bias impacting a member of the Valparaiso community. Reports will be received during business hours of 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday (excluding university holidays and closures). Reports received outside of business hours will be received during the next business day. All new reports will be reviewed by the Bias Incident Response Team during their weekly meeting and any necessary contact will be made following that discussion.

If you are concerned about the immediate health and safety of yourself or someone else, call 911 or the Valparaiso University Police Department (VUPD) at 219.464.5430.  

What happens after I submit a report?

A member of the Bias Incident Response Team (B.I.R.T) will contact you to schedule an in-person meeting. The team member will:

  • Listen and support you as you provide details of the incident
  • Identify campus resources to help you understand your options
  • Walk you through what to expect should you choose to use the recommended resources.

After your in-person meeting and referrals, you will receive an email from your team member to make sure the B.I.R.T. has provided you with everything you need to resolve the incident.

Can I report anonymously?

Yes, if you choose to remain anonymous, none of your personal information (i.e., name, email, IP address) will be recorded. However, Valparaiso University may have an institutional or legal obligation to address a reported incident, to investigate meaningfully, or to take corrective action (where warranted), and therefore the University cannot guarantee confidentiality where it would conflict with Valparaiso University’s legal obligation. This means anyone named in a report may be followed up with. In the event we are provided with the alleged perpetrator personal information, it will only be shared with individuals with legitimate need to know, in compliance with University policy for follow-up and resolution.

Why should I report a bias incident?

  • We cannot do it alone! Valparaiso University is continuously assessing the campus climate and evolving our practices to serve the campus community better. We need your report so we can be better! 
  • Also, when incidents go un-addressed, it creates a sense of shared apathy and can give the impression that a place is unsafe which can negatively affect your, or other people’s, health and happiness. 
  • All campuses struggle with bias incidents. College campuses are the third most common location where bias incidents occur (after residential homes and public places i.e., streets and sidewalks).

Why does Valparaiso University care about Bias Incidents?

  • Valparaiso University is committed to supporting a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment that can ignite in our students, faculty, and staff a true sense of belonging and help them achieve their greatest potential.
  • It’s the law!  Colleges and Universities are required to track and report bias and hate crimes through laws like Title VII, IX, and the Clery Act.
  • Bias/hate crimes can draw immediate and negative attention to campus, and to recover from the consequences of mishandling of an ”incident” of can take an institution years.
  • A safe and fulfilling campus experience is intrinsic to the recruitment and retention of students, faculty, and staff.

What does the Bias Incident Response Team (B.I.R.T.) do?

B.I.R.T.’s role is to:
  • Convene weekly to discuss and respond to reported Bias Incidents.
  • Coordinate a comprehensive response to incidents and assign D.C.A’s.
  • When possible, hold responsible and provide support to those who identify themselves as involved in a bias incident.
  • Monitor the campus climate around inclusivity and safety.
  • Promote civility and respect by proactively educating the campus community to prevent bias incidents.
B.I.R.T. Membership:
  • Ryan Blevins, Associate Dean for Student Life
  • Deondra Devitt, Title IX Coordinator/Assistant Human Resources Director
  • Charles Garber, Assistant Chief of the Valparaiso University Police Department
  • Scott Harrison, Executive Director and Chief Human Resource Officer
  • Merri Roddy, Executive Assistant/Business Liaison for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Brooke Starkoff, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology
  • Angela, Vidal-Rodriguez, Assistant Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Becky Walkowiak, Chief of the Valparaiso University Police Department

What do the Discrimination Complaint Advisors (D.C.A.’s) do?

D.C.A.’s role is to:
  • Advise people who are targeted, accused, or otherwise involved in bias incidents.
  • Support involved parties through the reporting process.
  • Communicate with BIRT about the needs and concerns of the involved parties and any other emerging issues.
  • Refer the involved parties to the appropriate emotional resources.
D.C.A. Membership:
  • Vivian Chen, Instructor, College of Business
  • Jim Crowley, Director of Data Architecture
  • Dr. Marcie Sariol, Assistant Professor of Management
  • Anthony Suarez, PhD, LMHC, Assistant Professor of Psychology
  • Allison M. Urbanczyk, MBA, Assistant Dean of Arts & Sciences