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Equity and Inclusion

Bias Education Response Team

Carthage College is committed to cultivating a diverse and inclusive community climate that is respectful, understanding, and civil. There are times, however, when biased statements, actions, and behaviors of community members impact others negatively and/or cause harm.

Bias incidents and trends degrade institutional trust, prevent open and honest collaboration, and often impede the learning of those involved. Bias incidents can also cause members of our community to feel unsafe.

What is a bias incident?

Bias incidents are those where speech or expressive conduct is directed toward an individual or group that is based on or motivated by the individual or group’s real or perceived gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, ability/neuro-ability, gender identity/expression, national origin, military/veteran status, and/or age. Bias incidents may include elements that are motivated by bias, but that are protected by the First Amendment and do not meet the necessary criteria required to prove a crime or a violation of college policy.

What is the Bias Education Response Team?

Carthage’s Bias Education Response Team responds to bias incidents that occur on campus or among members of the Carthage community. Led by the College’s Equity and Inclusion Committee, the Bias Education Response Team (BERT) consists of Carthage faculty and staff.

The team documents incidents, collects data, and provides support and educational programming to all affected. The team is not designed to conduct investigations of incidents, but rather support the College in its investigations.

BERT works in collaboration with the Division of Student Affairs to respond to bias incidents with educational programs, support for students and groups affected by the incidents, and advocacy to address the institutional inequities that may have contributed to these incidents.

Bias Education Response Team Process

Depending on the nature and severity of the behavior, the associated bias, and impact, bias incidents will be addressed through interventions as appropriate. Interventions may include education; restorative practices; community dialogue; formal processes through institutional offices (e.g. review, investigation, resolution); and/or referral to local law enforcement. Although not every incident is a violation of college policy or law, all reported incidents will be reviewed for an appropriate response. 

BERT follows the steps below in its process:

Step 1: Bias Incident Report Submitted
Any member of the Carthage community may submit a Bias Incident Report (log-in required). All submitted reports are sent to the BERT coordinator.

Step 2: First Response
BERT’s first response to any submitted incident report is to confirm the report has been received and identify immediate support needs, referring the report to other offices at Carthage as needed.

Step 3: Impact Review and Determination
BERT reviews the incident and determines an appropriate response. An action plan is developed, and response team leads are identified and assigned next steps.

Step 4: Engagement and Support
BERT issues individual invitations to individuals to receive support and/or participate in programming. BERT explores the impact and context of the incident.

Step 5: Restorative Support
BERT collaborates with involved individuals and groups to identify and provide ongoing support, opportunities, and educational options.

Step 6: Assess and Close
BERT provides a summary assessment of actions taken, resolves the report, and follows up as necessary.