What is a bias incident?

A 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?

A 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 valpo.edu/bias. 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.
  1. You may submit a phone report by calling Valparaiso University Police Department (VUPD) at (219)464-5430. VUPD is available 24/7.
  1. 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:

 Deondra Devitt, Assistant Director of Human Resource Services  Byron Martin, Director of Multicultural Programs
 Joe Frake, Associate Director of International Programs  Stacey Miller, Assistant Provost for Inclusion and Student Success Services
 Charles Garber, Assistant Chief of the Valparaiso   University Police Department  Larry Robertson, Assistant General Counsel/Title IX   Coordinator
 Tatiana Hurtado, Lecturer in Foreign Languages and   Literatures/Director of Summer Global Leadership   Program and Summer Smart  Erica Rusch, Administrative Assistant for Inclusion and   Student Success Services
 Tim Jenkins, Dean of Students  Stacey Turmel, Assistant Dean of Students for the Law   School

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:

 Julie Ault, Administrative Assistant in the College of   Nursing and Health Professions  Zeb Hall, Director of the Access and Accommodations   Resource Center
 Mark Bartusch, Associate Professor of Theology  Faisal Kutty, Associate Professor of Law
 Lydia Brauer, Associate Professor of Education  Kimberly Smith, Associate Director of Athletics for     Compliance
 Joe Frake, Associate Director of International Programs  Annmarie Wilson-Futrell, Director of Building Services
 Elizabeth Gingerich, Professor/Chair of   Christian Business Ethics of the College of Business