Bias consists of low-intensity behaviors that are neither severe nor pervasive. These behaviors are also known as incivility, which is defined as “behaviors in violation of norms for mutual respect. Uncivil behaviors are characteristically rude and discourteous, displaying a lack of regard for others (Anderson and Pearson, 1999).

A bias-based incident is one which has a negative effect on an individual or group and is based on or motivated by bias against race, color, national origin (includes language), sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, disability, genetic information, age, pregnancy, and/or protected veteran.

The incident is experienced as hurtful by one or many and may involve harassment, the creation of a hostile environment, property damage, verbal threats of violence, or physical violence. The incident may or may not involve breaches of University policies or state or federal law.

Bias Incident vs. Hate Crime

The above description may make someone think of the term “Hate Crime”. However, these two terms are not the same. What distinguishes the two is the legality of the action.

For example, degrading someone because they are a person of color is a hate crime.

If someone is harassed or teased because of a disability but not to the point of violating a law, it is bias incident. As soon as the action crosses the line of violating a law, it may be defined as a hate crime.

The Bias Resource Team understands that distinguishing whether something is a bias incident or a hate crime may be difficult. If you have a feeling, or just want to report the incident to be sure, feel free to make a report about what happened, and we can help you from there. Our staff can examine a situation and help a reporter decide what to do next.