Bias Activity Response Protocol
Gwynedd Mercy University is committed to creating a respectful and inclusive campus community. We recognize that acts of bias, including harassment and discrimination, are harmful to our community members and inconsistent with the University’s mission. This page defines bias activity, harassment, and discrimination, describes how to make a report to the University, and outlines the role of the Bias Activity Review Group and protocol used to respond to reports.
- Bias Activity is an umbrella term used to describe conduct or behavior (verbal, nonverbal, or written) that is characterized by some expression of negative bias against a group or individual and is based on that group’s or individual’s actual or perceived Protected Class status.
- Protected Classes, per University policy, include: race, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, color, marital status, veteran status, genetic characteristics, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law.
- Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is so frequent or severe that it objectively creates a hostile or offensive work environment or results in a negative employment action (such as being fired or demoted). For example, assault, threats, insults or offensive graffiti may be illegal harassment. (EEOC) https://www.eeoc.gov/employers/small-business/eeoc-glossary-smallbusinesses#harassment
- Discrimination is treating a person or a group of people less favorably based on a Protected Class status. (EEOC) https://www.eeoc.gov/employers/small-business/eeoc-glossary-smallbusinesses#race_discrimination
- Retaliation is taking adverse action against an individual for reporting an incident of bias, harassment, or discrimination, or for cooperating in the investigation of such a report.
Although not all acts of bias rise to the level of harassment or discrimination as defined in University policy, the University will respond to all reports of bias activity in order to promote a safe and respectful campus environment for all community members.
How to Make a Report
In case of an immediate threat or emergency, call the Office of Public Safety at 215-641-5522 ext. 21111, activate a blue light emergency call phone on campus, or dial 9-1-1 to reach local law enforcement.
Both anonymous and non-anonymous reports of bias activity may be made through the online Bias Activity Reporting Form. Please know that anonymous reports may limit the University’s capacity to investigate, respond, or follow up.
Filing a report of bias activity, harassment, and/or discrimination helps the University create a safe and welcoming campus climate that better supports everyone's ability to learn and/or work. It is the responsibility of all community members to report harmful behavior. The University not only seeks to address harmful conduct through applicable policies and processes, but to provide support and assistance to those who may have been harmed and identify educational and other programming for the community in order to prevent further harm from occurring.
Every effort will be made to evaluate reports promptly. However, the timing and manner in which the University addresses the report will depend upon the information provided and whether the reporter
wishes to remain anonymous.
Role of the Bias Activity Review Group
The Bias Activity Review Group (BARG), led by the AVP for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, is comprised of members from Human Resources, Public Safety, Student Services, Academic Affairs, and other campus and community partners, as necessary, and is charged with reviewing all reports of bias activity to:
- Determine whether any immediate steps need to be taken in order to ensure campus safety and/or reduce the potential for further conflict
- Assess the need for a community notification about an incident or pattern of incidents
- Connect individuals with support services on and off campus, including but not limited to, Counseling, Health Services, CARE Team, and Campus Ministry
- Provide information to reporting individuals about the bias activity response protocol and possible options for resolution that may include a formal complaint under University policy
- Refer reports for appropriate resolution processes as necessary
- Offer educational and other informal, non-punitive resolution for individuals and communities in order to address harm
- Provide information to individuals who may have been harmed about outcomes, as appropriate
- Gather data regarding bias activity, harassment, and discrimination reports received in order to make data-driven policy recommendations and provide periodic reports to campus leadership
- Recommend education be offered to campus populations by relevant offices
Protocol for Response Following a Report:
Confirmation of Report - If the reporting individual provides name and contact information, a confirmation will be sent stating that the report has been received.
Intake – The reporting party, if identified, will be provided with resources and support, as well as an opportunity to provide additional information to assist the Bias Activity Response Protocol.
BARG Assessment - BARG will be convened to assess the report and any additional information gathered.
Record the Incident - the BARG will maintain a record of all reports.
Formal Harassment and Discrimination Complaint Policies & Processes
Individuals are entitled to fill out a harassment and discrimination complaint directly through the processes outlined in our NonDiscrimation Policy on our Policies page.