Bias Response Task Force

Welcome to the task force website. The information on this page is currently in development. Expect frequent changes. Thank you for visiting.

Purpose

The Bias Response Task Force has been constituted and met for the first time on Sept. 11, 2017. The task force is chaired by Dean of Students, Dr. Donavan McCargo. Membership on the task force consists of faculty, administrative, student, community leaders, and experts on dealing with bias-speech response. The purpose of the task force is to advise the president of the university on how to respond to bias incidents such as hate speech.

  • Definitions

    Bias Incident: Any act of bigotry, harassment or intimidation directed at an individual or group based on actual or perceived race, color, religion, ethnicity, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status, which may be a violation of law, university conduct standard, or policy.

    For purposes of this protocol, a "bias-motivated incident" is any of the following:

    Discrimination: An adverse employment or education related action or decision that is based on or motivated by an individual's race, color, religion, ethnicity, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status.

    Examples of discrimination may include, but are not limited to:

    • Not receiving the grade you deserve because of your membership in a protected class; and
    • Not receiving a raise or promotion you deserve because of your membership in a protected class.

    Harassment:

    Anti-Harassment Policy and Procedures DIV-009
    (applies when the individual(s) who engaged in a bias incident is a non-student employee or off-campus vendor)

    Student Code of Conduct
    (applies when the individual(s) who engaged in a bias incident is a student)

    Examples of harassment may include, but are not limited to:

    • Unwanted physical contact; and
    • Obscene or harassing telephone calls, e-mails, letters, notes or other forms of communication.

    First Amendment Protections:

    Please be aware, as an academic community, Kutztown University values the robust exchange of ideas and the expression of free speech, as protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The ability to engage in academic discourse in an open, honest and respectful manner is what makes Kutztown unique. Just because the expression of an idea or point of view may be offensive or inflammatory to some, it is not necessarily a bias incident.

  • Reporting Incidents of Bias
      Protocol for Reporting Incidents of Bias

      Online

      Individuals can complete the Bias Incident Report form

      Individuals can report Bias incidents in person at:

      When an Individual comes to report a bias incident, the office will:

      • Assess the individual's emotional state and make appropriate referrals if necessary. 
      • Assist the individual in their completion of the Bias Incident Report (BRT).
      • Inform the Individual that the BRT will review the report and take appropriate action. 
      • Let the individual know they will hear back from the BRT within 72 hours. 
      • Make the individual aware of the resources available to assist them.
    • Responding to Bias Incidents

      The Dean of Students in consultation with Bias Response Taskforce (if needed), may respond to reported incidents in the following ways:

        • Review all reports of bias submitted to the Taskforce to learn more about what happened and what kind of response may be appropriate.
        • Consider whether the incident has potential free speech or academic freedom implications.
        • Determine what issues the report presents and which campus partners should be involved in the discussion about how best to respond.                                                               
        • Conduct an impact assessment to help determine response recommendations and actions. Considerations may include but are not limited to:
            • Which University members and communities are most directly impacted, and what support do they need (e.g., witnesses to the bias act, affinity groups, etc.)?
            • What other University members may be impacted by, or have a particular interest in this bias incident report (e.g. faculty, staff, students)
            • Are there off-campus constituencies that may be impacted by this bias incident?
            • To what extent could this bias incident create a rupture in the campus community?
            • Is the incident part of a pattern of bias incidents targeting a particular identity or community?
            • Is there any historical or present-day context that should be considered

      The Taskforce then provides recommendations for responses that may include but are not limited to:

        • Reach out to any directly impacted individuals immediately to let them know that the bias incident report has been received, provide resources for support, and learn more about their preferred response.                                                                                                                  
        • Contact students, groups, or other members of the community who may also be affected by the incident and need assistance or support.                                                                          
        • As appropriate, provide educational information to parties involved in the bias incident report about the University's commitment to equity, inclusion, academic freedom, and freedom of expression.                                                                                                                     
        • As appropriate, convene Bias Response Taskforce to determine the need for a campus-wide response or other action steps necessary for maintaining an environment conducive to learning, living, and working.                                                                                                      
        • Refer the bias incident report to investigative offices as appropriate, such as Public Safety, The Dean of Students Office, Social Equity, and the appropriate Vice President.      
        • Assist in coordinating opportunities for community dialogue and education as needed (e.g., listening sessions, training, town halls, panels).                                                                  
        • Consider what communications are needed to effectively inform the campus community and impacted groups about bias incidents and responses.

      Reports of bias incidents that could violate University policy or the law:

      The Dean of Students, and or Taskforce, will refer potential violations of University policy or law to the proper University offices and law enforcement agencies. The Bias Response Team does not have an investigatory or disciplinary role.

    • Membership

      Task Force Members:

      Dr. Kenneth Hawkinson, President

      Barry Althouse, Police Supervisor

      Nykolai Blichar, Graduate Student

      Andy Arnold, Senate President

      Jen Schlegel, Past Senate President

      John Dillon, Chief of Police

      Jesus Pena, Deputy to the President

      Anne Zayaitz, Cabinet

      Warren Hilton, Cabinet

      Jerry Silberman, Cabinet

      Matt Santos, Cabinet

      Donavan McCargo, Chair, Dean of Students

      Geroge Fiore, Kutztown Community Member

      Uttam Paudel, Student Trustee

      Braden Hudak, SGB President

      Clyde Killebrew, SGB Vice President

      Isabelle Waddelow, SGB Treasurer

      Allison Kostaras, Student

      Leah Cassellia, Director of Student Involvement

      Jonathan Shaw, Assoc. English Professor

      Arthur Garrison, Chair, Comission on the Status of Minorities

      Thomas Stewart, ASPCUF President

      Andy Vogel, Chair, English Department

      Robert Portada, Assoc. Political Science Professor

      Bruce Gottschall, Chair, Rohrbach Library

      Amber Pabon, Asst. Professor Secondary Education

      Desiree Reasoner, Director of Residence Life

      Amy Pfeiler-Wunder, Chair, Commission on Human Diversity

      Emily Cripe, Chair, Commission on the Status of Women

      Christine Price, Director of GLTBQ Resource & Women's Centers

      Rhonda Branford, Director of Multicultural Center

      Bias Protocol Development Team:

      Dr. Donavan McCargo, Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students

      Mike Demetor, Associate Dean of Students/Student Conduct

      Jamie Kardos, Director of Graduate Admissions 

      Jerry Schearer, Associate Dean for Inclusion and Outreach

      Des Reasoner, Director of Residence Life 

      Christine Price, Director of Women's Center & GLBTQ Center 

      Jacqueline Fox, Assistant Director of Social Equity/Deputy Title IX Coordinator

      Rhonda Branford, Director of Multicultural Center 

      Roger Douglas, Director of International Admissions

      Barry Althouse, Police Supervisor

    • Information and Resources

      Freedom of Speech and the Press 
      By Geoffrey R. Stone and Eugene Volokh

      "Congress shall make no law . . .  abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." What does this mean today? Read More

      President Hawkinson's Related Statements

    • Bias Response, Student Activism, and Free Speech Training

      Presenter/Trainer: Dr. Donavan McCargo

      Presentation Title: The interconnected aspects of Free Speech, Bias Incidents, & Student Activism

      Audience: All (Students, Faculty, Staff)

      Presentation/Training Overview: This interactive presentation is designed to provide an overview and increase understanding of bias, bias incidents, and student activism and the potential impact it has on college campuses and communities. Further, the presenter will provide participants with guidance on how to manage, respond to, and report bias incidents on campus, as well as, how to provide support to community members who experience bias incidents.

      Learning Outcomes:

      • Participants will be able to identify one fact about Free Speech;
      • Participants will be able to identify one element about Student Activism;
      • Participants will be able to identify one element about what a Bias Incident is;
      • Participants will be able to identify one campus support resource

      Time: 60-75 minutes

      To request this training, please contact deanofstudents@kutztown.edu