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Wheaton College values diversity, equity, and inclusion and is committed to maintaining an environment free from discriminatory conduct, including conduct that impedes the academic freedom, security, or well-being of any member of the Wheaton community. Wheaton’s Bias Incident Response Policy (the “Policy”) provides information about how to report a Bias Incident and outlines the protocols followed by Wheaton in response to reported incidents.
The Policy shall be interpreted and implemented in a manner consistent with Wheaton’s commitment to academic freedom.
Alleged Perpetrator. Individual(s) or group(s) who are alleged to have engaged in a Bias Incident.
Bias Incident. An act, whether intentional or unintentional, consisting of conduct, speech, or expression, that is motivated by bias and personally directed against an individual or group based on perceived or actual characteristics such as race, color, mental or physical disability, genetic information, national origin or ancestry, citizenship, age, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, veteran or military status, membership in the Uniformed Services. For purposes of this Policy, the term Bias Incident is inclusive of conduct constituting a Hate Crime. While a bias incident can occur anywhere on and around campus, including the classroom, speech or expression that is consistent with the principles of academic freedom does not constitute a Bias Incident.
Bias Incident Prevention and Response Team (the “BIPR Team”). A team of faculty, staff, and students appointed by President’s Council and charged with advising and supporting the College in Bias Incident prevention and education programming and with coordinating the College’s response to Bias Incidents involving students. As part of this charge, the BIPR Team monitors and identifies trends pertaining to campus cultural climate and provides broader recommendations for accomplishing institutional, cultural, and structural equity.
Hate Crime. Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 22C § 32, “any criminal act coupled with overt actions motivated by bigotry and bias including, but not limited to, a threatened, attempted or completed overt act motivated at least in part by racial, religious, ethnic, handicap, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation prejudice, or which otherwise deprives another person of his constitutional rights by threats, intimidation or coercion, or which seek to interfere with or disrupt a person’s exercise of constitutional rights through harassment or intimidation.”
Recipient(s). Individuals or groups who experience a Bias Incident.
Wheaton community members and visitors who may have experienced, witnessed, or have information regarding a Bias Incident are encouraged to immediately report it. Mechanisms for reporting are outlined below. If a Bias Incident is disclosed to a staff or faculty member informally and outside of the mechanisms outlined below, those staff and faculty members receiving the disclosure may choose to report the disclosure to College administrators but are not required to do so unless the disclosure is made by an employee whom the staff or faculty member supervises.
- Emergency Situations. In emergency situations, contact Public Safety at 508-286-3333;
- Bias Incident Report Form. In non-emergency situations, you may report by completing the online Bias Incident Report Form. Community members can also access the form via the LiveSafe App or by clicking on Community Reporting Options under the Campus Life tab on the College’s InsideWheaton page. Intake of Bias Incident Report Forms is conducted by the Senior Director of Compliance and Policy & Title IX Coordinator.; or
- Reporting to an Administrator. In non-emergency situations, you may report directly to the administrators listed below. Reports should include a detailed account of the incident, including the date, time, and location and the names of the individuals involved including any witnesses.
Zachary Irish (contact person for student conduct process)
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs
Alison Ricco (contact person for faculty grievance process)
Executive Assistant to the Provost
Omaira Roy (contact person for staff complaint process)
Associate Vice President of Human Resources
Senior Director of Compliance and Policy & Title IX Coordinator
Director of Public Safety
IV. Response Protocol
Upon receiving a report of a Bias Incident, Wheaton will respond in a prompt, equitable, and effective manner by following the protocol outlined below:
- Submission to BIPR Team. When received through the reporting mechanisms outlined above, the appropriate administrators will review the Bias Incident report, a summary of which will be submitted to the BIPR Team. At the discretion of the Associate Vice President of Human Resources and the Associate Provost for Diversity and Faculty Development, Reports involving Alleged Perpetrators who are employees of the College may be managed solely via the relevant policies and processes of their respective offices. Such processes will include a determination regarding appropriate measures to be taken as outlined in paragraph IV(2) below.
- Review and Initial Response. The BIPR Team will meet as soon as practical to review the summary of the report and determine appropriate measures to be taken. Such measures include but are not limited to: evaluating and responding to the immediate needs of the Recipient(s); connecting the Recipient(s) to appropriate offices for support; assisting in the development of any community-wide notice or response (in consultation with the Recipient(s) and appropriate administrators); and recommending preventative and responsive education and programming, where appropriate.
- Coordination with Disciplinary Offices and / or Local Law Enforcement. The BIPR Team does not have authority to discipline any student or employee, therefore the appropriate administrative offices will review Bias Incident Reports to determine whether the conduct reported could constitute a violation of College policy. For example, Bias Incident reports identifying a student as an Alleged Perpetrator may implicate Wheaton’s Honor Code or Community Standards and therefore will be reviewed by the Office of the Dean of Students and addressed through the Student Conduct P Similarly, the College may coordinate with local law enforcement on any Bias Incident report which may violate Massachusetts law.
- Educational Response. Where a Bias Incident report does not violate Wheaton policy or the law, the BIPR Team may address the report through an educational response that may include conflict resolution, where appropriate, and non-disciplinary approaches for addressing the Alleged Perpetrator’s conduct and the Recipient’s experience. Additionally, where a Bias Incident does violate Wheaton Policy, the Disciplinary Offices adjudicating the violation may issue an educational sanction in consultation with the BIPR Team.
Information related to reported Bias Incidents and the College’s response will be centrally tracked by the Senior Director of Compliance and Policy & Title IX Coordinator for purposes of identifying trends and informing the College’s prevention work and educational programming. General statistical information relating to reported Bias Incidents may be shared via reports to the community.
The College values the privacy of Recipient(s) and all individuals involved in the reporting, investigation, and / or resolution of Bias Incidents. As such, the outcome of any reported Bias Incident and the manner in which an outcome may be shared with members of the College community will take into account the privacy of the involved parties and will comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and all other laws governing privacy.
Bias Incident Prevention and Response Team Members
- Rachael Pauze, Senior Director of Compliance and Policy & Title IX Coordinator
- Leah Dyjak, Assistant Professor, Visual Art
- Kent Shaw, Assistant Professor, English
- Raquel Ramos, Dean of the Marshall Center for Intercultural Learning
- Caleigh Grogan, Coordinator for the Center of Religious and Spiritual Life
- Abby Cook, Class of 2022, Student Government Association Secretary
- Laurent Tossoukpe, Class of 2022, Peer Mentor in the First Generation Brave, Bold, and First Living Learning Community.