Bias Incident Reporting


Whittier College is committed to an environment that cares, supports, and acknowledges the many identities our students represent.

The Bias Response Team is committed to tracking incidents of bias that occur on our campus in an effort to be proactive in creating an equitable, just, and  inclusive climate for all. As such, the team handles all bias incident reports and responds by providing support to students, faculty, and staff making a report and addressing the incident.

Whittier College community members who have seen, heard, or experienced bias should report the incident using the Bias Reporting Form.

Reporting is confidential but not anonymous.

Anyone who directly witnesses or experiences bias activity (or finds evidence of or hears about past bias activity) at Whittier College  or in an area that impacts the Whittier College community should intervene in the moment as appropriate (e.g., contact Campus Safety at 911, if a crime is in progress, or interrupt the behavior in as much as the observer feels skilled and safe). A report of the incident should be made as soon as possible.

Bias Assessment and Review Process

An email is sent to all members of the Bias Response Team. A lead member of the team will review the report and assign it to the appropriate team member. A member of the team will contact the person who submitted the report within 48 hours during business days (Monday-Friday). Reports will not be reviewed outside of business hours.

If emergency please call Campus Safety at 562.907.4211 or 4911.

If Yes, the report will be sent to the Title IX Coordinator or appropriate Deputy Title IX Coordinator.

If No, the report will be assessed for further action.

If Yes, a member of the Bias Response Team will assign a team member to follow up and provide care and resources and will be further assessed for action and response. Bias Team determines appropriate course of action which may include assessing the incident, following up with involved parties, supporting individuals and community members. Support may take on the form of a facilitated dialogue, mediation and educational outreach.

If Yes, the report will be referred to the Dean of Students office for further assessment and review. 

If Yes, the report will be referred to the Vice President for Academic Affairs/Dean of Faculty.

If Yes, the report will be referred to the appropriate Vice President. 

Definitions and Common Terms

Under Whittier College’s definition a bias incident is action taken that one could reasonably and prudently conclude is motivated, in whole or in part, by the alleged offender’s bias against an actual or perceived aspect of diversity, including, but not limited to, age, ancestry or ethnicity, color, creed, disability, gender, gender identity or expression, height, immigration or citizenship status, marital status, national origin, race, religion, religious practice, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or weight.

Federal definition: A hate crime is a traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias. For the purposes of collecting statistics, Congress has defined a hate crime as a "criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation." Hate itself is not a crime—and the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties.

California definition: Section 13023 of the Penal Code states that ". . . any criminal acts or attempted criminal acts to cause physical injury, emotional suffering, or property damage where there is a reasonable cause to believe that the crime was motivated, in whole or in part, by the victim's race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or physical or mental disability . . ." shall be reported to the Department of Justice.

The following activities are examples of crimes that qualify as hate crimes if motivated by the victim’s actual or perceived group identity:

  • A hate crime must involve a specific target, such as a person or individual residence, house of worship, religious, ethnic, or gender-based organization, or business.
  • Graffiti must be racial, ethnic, gender-based, religious, or homophobic in nature, using swastikas or other symbols and slogans of the KKK, Nazi party, or other hate groups, or involving the use of epithets.
  • Bigotry must be the central motive for the attack, rather than economics, revenge, etc., as in other kinds of crime.
  • Any assault against a person, in the absence of other apparent motivation, when initiated with racial, ethnic, religious, gendered or homophobic epithets, will be considered to be a hate crime.
  • Vandalism to a house of worship, or to an ethnic, religious, or gay or lesbian organization will be considered a hate crime in the absence of evidence of other motives.
  • Obscene or threatening phone calls, when containing racial, ethnic, religious, gender-based, or homophobic slurs, are considered hate crimes when it is determined that hate is the primary motivation for the call.

Visit Partners Against Hate for more information regarding hate crimes. 

Hate speech is a term for speech intended to degrade, intimidate, or incite violence or prejudicial action against a group of people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or disability; hate speech includes written as well as oral communication. An important difference to recognize is that hate crime doesn’t always involve hate speech and hate speech in and of itself is not always a hate crime.

This glossary includes terminology commonly used in reference to bias and bias incidents. It is not meant to be exhaustive. The Bias Response Team recognizes that language is complex and the definitions of many of these terms will continue to evolve.


It is a commitment to the Bias Response Team to assess the report received within 48 hours business hours. 


Favoring of or against one person, group or thing compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair. Biases can be conscious or unconscious – explicit or implicit. In addition, bias can be institutionalized into policies, practices and structures.

Bias incident

Any hurtful, discriminatory or harassing act that targets individuals or groups based on perceived or actual identity. To be considered a bias incident, the act is not required to be a crime under any federal, state or local statutes, nor does it have to violate university policy. 


Any person who submits a complaint alleging that a student, faculty, staff, and/or community member violated College policy as it relates to Bias. When a student, faculty, staff believes they have been a victim or are the negatively impacted party of another student, faculty, or staff misconduct, they are considered the complainant, along with or regardless of who initially submitted the charge.


A set of beliefs or aims which guide someone's actions.


Is defined by federal and/or state statutes to include unfavorable or unfair treatment of a person or class of persons with membership in a protected class.
Ethnicity: The culture of people in a given geographic region, including their language, heritage, religion and customs.
Gender: A social combination of identity, expression, and social elements related to masculinity and femininity. Includes gender identity (self-identification), gender expression (self-expression), social gender (social expectations), gender roles (socialized actions), and gender attribution (social perception).
Gender expression: How one chooses to express one’s gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, hairstyle, voice, body characteristics, etc. Gender expression may change over time and from day to day, and may or may not conform to an individual’s gender identity.
Gender identity: An individual’s internal sense of being male, female, both, neither, or something else. Since gender identity is internal, one’s gender identity is not necessarily visible to others.
Harassment: is unwelcome conduct because of membership in a protected class and is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it interferes with an employee’s ability to perform their job or denies or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s programs. 
Implicit/unconscious bias: A stereotype or bias that occurs outside of conscious awareness and control and is often at odds with one’s conscious values.

Microaggressions: Brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral or environmental indignities that tend to be subtle, often unintentional, and indirect. Microaggressions often occur in situations where there are alternative explanations and are more likely to occur when people pretend not to notice differences, thereby denying that race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, religion, national origin, or any other aspect of identity had anything to do with their actions.
National origin: A place from which a person and/or their ancestors originate from.
Protected class: A group of people who share common characteristics and are protected from discrimination and harassment under federal and state laws and/or university policy. Protected classes include race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
Race: Refers to the concept of dividing people into populations or groups on the basis of various sets of physical characteristics that result from genetic ancestry. Sociologists use the concept of race to describe how people think of and treat groups of people, as people very commonly classify each other according to race (e.g., as African-American or as Asian).
Retaliation: Adverse action taken against a person who engages in a protected activity, which consists of: seeking information about or complaining in good faith about potential violations of University policies; participating in an investigation being conducted in response to allegations of violations of University policies; or filing a complaint with or participating in an investigation being conducted in response to a complaint filed with federal, state, or local authorities charged with enforcing specific statutes. 

Response and Action: It is a commitment to the Bias Response Team to identify the appropriate 
response and action for each report received.  Bias Team determines appropriate course of action which may include assessing the incident, following up with involved parties, supporting individuals and community members.  Support may take on the form of a facilitated dialogue, mediation and educational outreach.

Respondent: Any student, faculty, staff accused of violating College policy as it relates to Bias.

Sex: Separate from gender, this term refers to the cluster of biological, chromosomal and anatomical features associated with maleness and femaleness in the human body. Sex is often used synonymously with gender in this culture. Although the two terms are related, they should be defined separately to differentiate the biological (“sex”) from the sociocultural (“gender”).
Sexual orientation: An individual’s physical and/or emotional attraction to and desire to sexually or emotionally partner with specific genders and/or sexes. e.g., homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, pansexual, asexual.
Socioeconomic status (SES): The social standing or class of an individual or group. It is often measured as a combination of education, income and occupation.