University releases bias report

By Connor Midgley l Herald Contributor

The 2018-2019 RWU Bias Report, a report which records and categorizes bias incidents on campus, was released on Oct. 28 by the Center for Student Development. 
 
A “bias incident” is defined as an instance of bigotry, harassment or intimidation against a student, teacher or other member of the campus community. These instances have to do with factors such as gender, race, sexuality or politics. They can take the form of an event, image, or utterance that is either verbal, written, or published online. Additionally, the incidences can be either intentional or unintentional.
 
Though the bias report has existed in previous years, it was featured on its own website in Spring 2018. Dr. Lisa Landreman, assistant vice president of student life and dean of  students, said the website serves to “explain the [reporting] process and define bias in a really robust way.
 
During the 2018-2019 school year, 58 bias incidents were reported using the website. Of these incidents, 11 had to do with race, 10 with sexuality, six with gender, six with religion, three with gender identity, three with disability, two with body image, two with ethnicity, two with politics, two with nationality, one with being LGBTQ+ and 10 with some combination of the previous categories. 
Of the reporters of these incidents, 32 were students, 21 were residential advisors, three were university staff, and two were non-students or otherwise.
 
There were 63 responders to these incidents: 40 were students, one was university staff, five were faculty members and 17 were non-student or otherwise.
 
Bias incidents are usually followed up on in order to inform the perpetrator of the incident why what they did was wrong. 46 were followed up by conversations, five by community meetings, five by sanctions and two had no follow-ups.
 
Dr. Landreman said the number of incidents reported has gone up from previous years, but that does not necessarily mean that more incidents are happening on campus.
 
“Because there’s greater awareness that this exists, I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s because more things are happening, but that now more people know how to report,” Landreman said.
 
So far this school year, only two bias incidents have occurred, according to Deanna Proko in the Center for Student Development.