Bias Incident Response Team Frequently Asked Questions

What is a bias incident?
For the purposes of the Bias Incident Response Team, a bias incident is an act or pattern of bigotry, harassment, or intimidation that is motivated in whole or in part by bias based on an individual's or group's actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, or familial status. Something does not necessarily need to rise to the level of a hate crime or a policy violation to constitute a bias incident.

Can I submit a report anonymously?
Yes. In order to increase the likelihood that students, staff and faculty will submit reports, we created an online report form that can be submitted anonymously. You may also choose to provide non-identifying contact information, such as a personal email account, if you would like information regarding the status of your report. We want to obtain as complete a picture as possible regarding the experiences of our students, staff and faculty, and this tool is a mechanism for accomplishing that goal. We cannot respond to anonymous reporters to provide feedback or information, but we welcome the contribution to our collective knowledge.

Who can I talk to if I’m unsure about making a report?
We want individuals to have information to assist them in making the determination as to whether or not they want to make a Bias Incident Report and what options may exist through other reporting opportunities available, such as disciplinary investigations. To talk with someone who can provide you more information, please contact any member of the Bias Incident Response Team listed on the Contact Us page.

What happens after I submit a report?
All team members receive a copy of the report, which will be discussed at weekly team meetings to determine next steps. Primarily, the information will be maintained in our database, providing us with an overall picture of the kinds of things our students, staff and faculty are experiencing. If the reporting individual wants to discuss the matter further and provides contact information, we will reach out to that individual. The team will determine what kind of follow up activity may be called for, such as asking facilities services to remove graffiti, reaching out to an affected community to provide support or providing feedback to a department or individual.

What are the possible outcomes following a report?
Depending on the nature of the reported incident, the Bias Incident Response Team may:

  • Offer support and information regarding available resources.
  • Offer options on how to report an incident for investigation and resolution in accordance with applicable University policy and principles of free expression.
  • Inform and consult colleagues regarding a possible institutional response.
  • Coordinate support for community healing and educational outreach.
  • Assess avenues for minimizing or eliminating future incidents of bias.
  • Catalogue incidents.

Individuals who submit a report and identify themselves may be contacted for more detail. Anonymous reports also may be submitted. The team will compile and analyze data from submitted reports to inform future educational and prevention efforts.

Institutional responses may include:

  • Removal of graffiti or flyers.
  • Individual outreach to an affected party.
  • Connecting affected parties to relevant resources.
  • Educational workshops or seminars.
  • Notice to the community about the incident.
  • Offer of support and assistance to affected individuals/communities (typically in the form of counseling).

Will my report result in an investigation of the matter?
It is important to note that the Bias Incident Response Team is neither an investigative nor an oversight body. In the vast majority of cases, it will be entirely up to the person making the report to decide if they want to have a formal investigation initiated. If you submit a report and provide contact information, the team can let you know your options for having the matter investigated and provide information about relevant resources. In rare instances, we may be compelled by law to report a matter to appropriate investigative body (Student Conduct, Human Resources, and Public Safety). This would be most likely if the safety of a minor appears to be at risk or a direct threat of violence has occurred.

What is the purpose of reporting bias incidents?
The Bias Incident Report and Response Team were designed to promote an inclusive community at Minnesota State University Moorhead by providing a central, streamlined approach for reporting incidents of bias and/or discrimination involving students.

The Bias Report and Response Team have three primary goals:

  • Support students who have witnessed or been the target of bias-related incidents.
  • Refer to resources that can provide ongoing support.
  • Inform the MSUM community about the frequency and nature of bias incidents that are reported.