University of Oregon
Bias Response Team
By Jessie Wofsy
Introduction, Goal, and Objectives
Make-up of Bias Response Team (BRT)
Reporting of Bias Related Crimes (BRC)
Location of BRT
Logistical Structure of BRT
Summary of incidents reported to BRT
Preventative Programming and Education
Publication and Materials
Timeline, personnel, and equipment
Possible List of Secondary Members of BRT
Approach Taken for Research
List of Speakers and Organizations for BRT Educational Events
Hate crimes or bias related crimes (BRC) are rampant and increasingly
recognized as a threat to the well being of our diverse communities. The
1997 hate crime statistics show that a total of 8,049 hate crime incidents
were reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Of the 8,049
reported incidents; 4,710 were motivated by racial bias; 1,385 by
religious bias; 1,102 by sexual orientation bias; and 836 by ethnicity/national
origin bias. Colleges and Universities are also homes for BRC; eleven percent
(886) of these incidents occurred in campuses of higher education. In the
case of campus ethnoviolence alone, 65-70 of the nation's minority students
reported some for of ethnoviolent harassment. Many students, faculty, staff,
and administrators have experienced bias related crimes in relation to
their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ability, age, marital
status, as well as other reasons.
At the University of Oregon, the Race Task Force (RTF) has taken efforts
to address BRC. This group was effective in supporting individuals who
were targets of BRC but did not have the resources for extensive education,
support, and dialogue. The members of the RTF were unable to provide a
comprehensive response to BRC, due to the lack of resources and administrative
structure. The support offered by the RTF became accessible only to those
who were familiar with individual members of the RTF. This left the work
of responding to BRC on the agenda of individuals whose plates were already
full with the variety of ongoing responsibilities. An ad-hoc organization
created to address issues of race on this campus clearly cannot be held
responsible for responding to the variety of BRC that take place on this
This May's incident rekindled the discussion of campus responsibility
to BRC from two different perspectives. A vocal student body felt that
the university administration had not responded in an effective and timely
manner. From the viewpoint of many administration and faculty, the lack
of coordinated effort created a feeling of "hands being tied", leaving
offices and individuals without a clear understanding of their options.
The inadequate response of the U of O is in no way due to a scarcity
of caring individuals on this campus, but linked to a lack of an administrative
plan for handling BRC. The issue of a Bias Response Team was one of the
primary ad-hoc committees formed following the May 18th , 1999
sit-in, as a response to the growing demands by students for adequate attention
paid to this issue. The necessity for the administration's financial commitment
to a Bias Response Team (BRT) is paramount in showing how deeply committed
the University community is to the eradication of BRC through target support,
dialogue, and preventative education.
Change campus climate by setting clear standards for administrative
response to bias related crimes (BRC).
1) Educate campus community about BRC through preventative programming.
2) Institute a Bias Response Team (BRT) that will:
3. Work with relevant internal university groups through dialogue, as well
as media, to ensure strong lines of communication following an incident.
Intervene in crisis moments
Act as an immediate and ongoing support system for targets of BRC.
Create opportunities for dialogue, when possible, with perpetrators of
Document information of incidents in order to dismantle discrimination
A. The BRT core will be made up of a "primary" group of 7+ people, who
will respond to all incidents reported including, but not exclusive to:
Make-up of BRT
B. The BRT primary group will meet every 3 weeks to discuss the process
of follow-up for ongoing cases, evaluate and discuss results of previous
cases, as well as address logistical decisions of the team.
The BRT coordinator
A member of the Office of Student Judicial Affairs, the person will be
able to inform the team of all options available to the target for initiating
a code infraction process.
A member of the Conflict Resolution Services staff, or a person adequately
trained in conflict resolution.
A member of the Counseling Center staff.
A member of the Office of Student Life staff.
A student member of the team, possibly the BRT coordinator's intern or
ASUO Safety Advocate.
A member of the Office of Public Safety staff.
C. The "secondary" group will consist of an extensive list of members
all belonging to various elements of the campus community. These members
will agree to become involved with a BRT response if they are affiliated
with the community that is effected. For example, if the incident occurs
in residential housing, a member of the housing staff will be involved.
If a queer student is a target, a student from the LGBTA will be involved.
This will not only benefit the team in their process for deciding on protocol
for the incident, but will strengthen the communication between the community
and the BRT response to the incident.
D. All members of the team, both primary and secondary, will participate
in a BRC related training.
E. An email list will be created and send to all members of the BRT
(both primary and secondary). This will be a closed list that will inform
members of BRT related news, events, and training. There will not be any
discussion of ongoing cases in length; the details of these cases will
be kept in confidence between the primary and involved secondary members
of the team.
F. A self-subscribed email list will be created through the BRT website.
This list will be open to all who want to be kept informed about BRC that
take place on campus. Example would include: an announcement by the BRT
for concerned individuals to write letters to the Emerald when an incident
occurs to denounce the incident or the announcement of a rally or vigil
following an incident. This will serve as a tool for a mobilized response
by the campus community to an incident.
G. Advertising for possible secondary members of the BRT or interested
individuals will be done through the Emerald, News and Views, as well as
the email listserve for Faculty Concerned with Peace and Justice. The selection
of the secondary team will be more thoroughly decided by the primary team
in fall, 1999.
2. Reporting BRC
A. Online reporting form. This form will be reviewed within 24 hours
by a member of the BRT staff (GTF or intern) and will also be sent to a
database for its inclusion in the BRT report.
B. A "hotline" created (346-BIAS, 346-TEAM)
C. Coordinator or primary members of the team will have a notification
mechanism if incident is reported.
If through "hotline"- Audix will be checked at least once a day 7 days
If through online form- have form "trigger" an email to BRT database, which
will be checked once a day 7 days a week.
If through written report form- A member of the BRT staff will report to
the office every weekday. Protocol concerning a written report submitted
over the weekend will be decided by the primary team in the fall, 1999.
During the reporting process a distinction will be made between crimes
reported for "information" and crimes reported for "action". In the case
of information, the incident could have occurred at any previous date but
the information will be included in the BRT report. The team will respond
within 24 hours to any incident that requires action.
Discuss possibility for adopting a uniform report form for racial and sexual
orientation motivated bias crimes (see drafts).
3. Location of the BRT
The campus office in which the team will be administratively "housed"
will be the Office of Student Life. This is due the nature of the Office
of Student Life as an advocate for students as well as the BRT work. However,
to physically house the BRT in the EMU will be advantageous to the team
because of its close proximity to many of the student groups affected by
these types of incidents. This will:
An "ideal" spot for the BRT would be the Multicultural Center, a issue
that will be discussed further when the MCC board reconvenes early fall
Enhance incidents of reporting
Improve communication surrounding an incident immediately following its
occurrence, the BRT staff will be easily accessible, able to answer questions,
and able to clarify what is being done.
Show the institutional commitment to this issue by its visible presence.
These incidences, for the most part, are aimed towards the students
of this University, and therefore the BRT should "live" where these students
Strengthen the sense of community on campus through a collective denunciation
of these incidences, which will be better facilitated by an ongoing, accessible
4. Logistical Structure of the BRT
A. If the incident involves "action" by the BRT, it can act in a variety
Inform the target of their options.
Act as mediators or advocates for dialogue, when possible, between those
B. The primary members of the team, along with any secondary members believed
to be present, review the case and propose options for courses of action
for responding to the incident. A more specific protocol will be formed
during the BRT primary team meetings which will take pace every two weeks
this fall term, 1999.
Refer the individual(s) to campus or community resources.
C. Following a discussion of options for action by the BRT, 1-3 members
of the team contact the individual(s) to inform them of their options.
Following this discussion, the individual(s), not the team itself, will
decide on how to proceed. To avoid placing the individual(s) into a situation
in which they do not feel comfortable, the members of the team which will
have direct contact with the individual(s) at this stage will be restricted
to the BRT coordinator, a secondary member acting as a personal advocate,
and possibly a member of the Office of Student Life or Counseling Center.
The limitation of the contact is so that the individual(s) are not overwhelmed
by the presence of an extensive committee, which would undermine all efforts
in offering support. These team "representatives" could bring forth the
possible courses of action decided upon by the BRT as a whole.
D. The individual(s) may have contact with other members of the BRT
if the decided protocol calls for such a meeting. For example, if dialogue
is agreed to by both involved parties, then the representative from Conflict
Resolutions Services would become directly involved.
The BRT will serve as an educational body to support reporting individual(s)
and attempt to, when possible, bring together parties in dialogue. The
BRT is completely independent of the Office of Student Judicial Affairs,
apart from the presence of a member of this office on the team, and is
unable to take any punitive measures against the involved parties.
5. Summary of incidents reported to BRT
If an incident is reported for "information" or "action" it will be
compiled and included in a report by the BRT coordinator and intern to
be distributed periodically, possibly every 3 months, to campus offices
and student organizations.
At the end of the 9 or 11 month school year, a yearly report will be compiled
with the previously reported data.
A summary of brief descriptions of BRT reported incidences. This report
will not contain specific names or locations, to protect the privacy of
the reporting individual(s).
Cases for which BRT action is pending will be noted with a letter "A" following
Cases reported for information only will be noted with a letter "I" following
A summary of specific statistics of incidents reported will be compiled
Number of cases reported
Gender of reporting individual(s)
Gender of offender(s)
Race/ethnic identity of reporting individual(s)
Race/ethnic identity of offender(s)
Location (residence halls, on/off campus, classroom, etc.)
Nature of reported incident (verbal/physical harassment, graffiti, phone/computer
Status of offender(s) (student, staff, faculty, admin., etc.)
Status of reporting individual(s)
Predominant outcomes (information only, informal mediation, legal action,
removal of graffiti, etc.)
6. Preventative programming and education
A. Educational conferences, training, workshops, and presentations.
7. Publications and Materials
Training for employees of the residence halls (Residence Assistants, Residence
Directors) as well as the Office of Public Safety (OPS) in the identification
and investigation of BRC.
Ongoing major conferences and events such as "Hate Crimes Awareness Week"
(January 10-15) with:
Major speaker (See List).
Smaller workshops; media coverage of hate crimes, how to mobilize a community
response, ways to prevent hate crimes in and outside classroom, etc.
Panel discussion of free speech vs. hate speech.
Speak-out for survivors of hate crimes.
Multi-media exhibit that addresses issues of BRC (in discussion with Journalism
and Art departments for possible project in fall, 1999).
Outreach, presentations, and training to student unions, classes, etc.
The BRT coordinator would be responsible for building relationships with
student groups which will result in better communication once an incident
A. In print
Brochures, posters, stickers (as Project Saferide has), etc.--making the
team as visible and well advertised as possible.
Produce one large poster with names of all primary and secondary members
of the team. Display this poster at different areas on campus. These members
will serve as "advocates" for individual(s) interested in reporting to
widen accessibility and instances of reporting.
Emerald and RG coverage of incidents occurring on campus. The BRT coordinator
will be responsible, through his/her communication with all groups involved
as well as the affected communities, for statements to the press. The statement
from the BRT as well as the President of the University will, depending
on the situation, rely more on the condemnation of and response to the
incident, rather than the identity of the target or perpetrator.
Push for coverage in News and Views as well as the Oregon Quarterly.
Coordination of letter to editor campaign when incident occurs.
8. Timeline, personnel, and equipment
"Safety Web" or "BRT Webpage": Links to definitions, policy, reporting,
ongoing updated news on incidents locally and nationally, events, as well
as other related sites. The coordinator or his/her intern will be responsible
for updating the web page.
On this page an online reporting form will be available.
B. Personnel and Equipment
September 13th: Presentation of "final" rough draft of BRT proposal to
September 27th: Beginning of fall term, interim coordinator uses fall term
to put together web site, materials, itinerary for "Hate Crimes Awareness
Week", finalized list of primary and secondary members of BRT, as well
as networking with student groups, etc. to begin to publicize BRT.
Throughout fall term (every 2 weeks): primary members of BRT meet to finalize
protocol and logistics of team.
Final 4 weeks of fall term: Interviews for coordinator and intern held,
final 2 weeks of fall term act as transition period from interim coordinator
to new coordinator.
January 4th: winter term begins, BRT coordinator and intern begin.
January 11th: "Hate Crimes Awareness Week", public kick-off of team.
BRT interim coordinator for fall, 15 hours a week @ $6.50-$8.00/hour--$975-$1,200
GTF BRT coordinator, .49 (19 hours/week) -minimum $8,182
Undergraduate intern, 15 hours/week @ $6.50-$8.00/ hour----$2925-$3600
Web Services Specialist, 40 hours @ $10.00/ hour----$400.00
Operating Budget (To include "Hate Crimes Awareness Week" costs; speaker,
Printed Materials (brochures, posters, packets, advertisements)---$5,000
GTF BRT Coordinator, .49 (19 hours/week)- minimum $8,182
Undergraduate intern, 15 hours/week $6.50-$8.00/ hour---$2925-3600
Operating Budget- $5,000
Printed Materials- $1,000
9. Possible List of Secondary Members of BRT
Campus Groups (not student run)
Office of the President
Academic Advising and Student Services
Academic Learning Services
U of O Housing
Office of Multicultural Affairs
Office of Student Judicial Affairs; 2 GTFs
Research Institutes on Campus
ASUO Legal Services
Continuing Education Center
High School Equivalency Program
Alliance for Sexual Assault Prevention
Spenser View/Westmoreland Housing
LGBT Support Services
Teaching Effectiveness Program
Academic English for International Students
American English Institute
Office of International Education and Exchange
Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship
Labor Education and Resource Center
Institute on Violence and Behavior
Center for the Study of Women in Society
Associated Students of the University of Oregon (ASUO)
Multi-cultural Center (MCC)
Black Student Union (BSU)
Asian-Pacific Student Union (APASU)
Jewish Student Union (JSU)
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Alliance (LGBTA)
Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanos de Aztlan (MEChA)
Native American Student Union (NASU)
Returning Students Association (RSA)
Chinese Student Association (CSA)
Hong Kong Student Association (HKSA)
International Student Association (ISA)
Mongolian Student Association (MSA)
Vietnamese Student Association (VSA)
Tiwanese Student Association (TSA)
Arab Student Union (ASU)
Black Law Student Association
Minority Law Student Association
Native American Law Student Association
10. Approach Taken for Research
Eugene Human Right Commission
Communities against Hate
Basic Rights Oregon
Sexual Assault Support Services
Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment
Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC)
African American Community Coalition
Jewish Federation of Lane County
A. Internet research
B. Library Research
11. List of Speakers and Organizations for BRT Educational
Stephanie Carnahan, Assistant Dean, Office of Student Life. (firstname.lastname@example.org,
Gwen Tistdat, Counseling Center (email@example.com)
Lisa Foisy, Director, Women's Center. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lisa Frankel, 1998-9 Chair of Student Conduct Code Committee, English Department
Annie Bentz, Director, Conflict Resolution Services. (email@example.com)
Troy Franklin, Assistant Dean in the Office of Student Life (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Chris Demaske, School of Journalism (email@example.com)
Wayne Westling, School of Law (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Catherine Forell (email@example.com), School of Law
Gil Carassco, Visiting Professor, School of Law (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Carla Gary, Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs and University
Christi Browning, Graduate School (email@example.com)
City of Eugene Human Right Commission (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Poly Nelson, ACLU Eugene (345-6162)
Chris Leshaivo, Director Student Judicial Affairs, (email@example.com)
Luke Jensen, Office of Student Life, University of Maryland, (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Stephen Polniaszek, New York University Office of Student Life (email@example.com)
Elizabeth Davenport, Office of Student Life, University of Southern California
Melinda Grier, Lead Counsel for U of O (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Pamela Freeman, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Student Ethics
and Anti-Harassment Programs (email@example.com)
Doug Bauder, Assistant Dean of Students, University of Indiana (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Batya Hyman, Professor Arizona State University-West, (email@example.com)
Mitra Anoushiravani , ASUO Vice President (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Jennifer Anne Eliot, ASUO Safety Advocate (email@example.com)
Beverly D. Tuel, Director Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Resource
Center, University of Colorado, Boulder (Beverly.Tuel@Colorado.EDU).
Polly Nelson, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Eugene
Marcy Westerling, Rural Organizing Project, Oregon
Bill Wassmuth, Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment
Michelle Lefcowitz, Communities Against Hate, Eugene
Henry Luvert, NAACP Eugene
Harriet Merrick, Basic Rights Oregon, Eugene
Tim Gleason, U of O School of Journalism
Gil Carassco, U of O School of Law, visiting professor
Donna Albro, Eugene Human Rights Commission
Tammy Schnitzer, ACLU, Montana