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Bias Incident Response Team works to enhance campus climate

October 25, 2013

EAU CLAIRE — University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students, faculty and staff who observe hateful, intolerant or biased actions on campus have a way to report what they have witnessed and to seek responsive, corrective action.

A witness to an action of hate or bias can report that incident to the university's Bias Incident Response Team. The group meets regularly to develop proactive strategies for maintaining a safe and welcoming campus climate and as needed to determine courses of action in response to discriminatory actions on campus.

"Our intent is that every member of our university community — regardless of differences such as race, religious beliefs or sexual orientation — feel safe and at home on our campus," said Dr. Beth Hellwig, vice chancellor for student affairs and chair of the Bias Incident Response Team.

Hellwig said anyone who observes discriminatory actions is encouraged to report it as quickly as possible. Those actions could range from racist graffiti to hateful language or other behavior directed at a person or group of people, she said.

Reports of hate or bias incidents may be reported via the online Bias/Hate Incident Reporting Form or by calling or emailing one of the following campus offices:

Equity, diversity and inclusiveness on campus were identified as goals during the university's strategic planning process, Hellwig said. The Bias Incident Response Team is one of many university initiatives that relate to enhanced inclusivity efforts on campus, she said.

"This group comes together as needed," Hellwig said, noting that the team includes representatives from a variety of offices and units on campus. "The team provides advice, creates an action plan and/or shares information as appropriate for the particular situation, and, on a case-by-case basis, we invite the input of others whose perspectives and expertise will help us determine the best response. We want the campus community to know we're here when they need us."

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