Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT)
The University defines bias incidents as any behaviors that target individuals or groups based on their actual or perceived group identities. Examples may include but are not limited to: graffiti, harassment, jokes, direct insults, etc. The specific forms, content, motivation/intention and impact of bias incidents vary, but all detract from the inclusive community to which DU is committed. Therefore bias incidents are problematic for everyone within the University and for the University as a whole.
The University's Bias Incident Response Team (or "BIRT") is an internal working group tasked to coordinate campus response to bias incidents. BIRT does NOT investigate, adjudicate or otherwise participate in judicial/legal processes, but provides support to individuals and populations affected by such incidents.
Additionally, BIRT gathers an advisory group of campus-wide representatives at least quarterly, to
- monitor and report on incident patterns impacting campus climate, and
- make recommendations for changes to resources, programs, etc.
Bias Incident Definition
DU defines bias incidents as any behaviors, including speech and gestures, that target individuals or groups based on their actual or perceived group identities, such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, age, disability, national origin, religion and others.
On their own and/or in combination with other actions, bias incidents may also constitute violations of:
- the DU Honor Code
- policies outlined in the Housing & Residence Education Guide to Residence Living
- other University policies (e.g., discrimination or harassment), and/or
- legal statutes (e.g., general and/or so-called "hate" crimes under local, state, and federal law)
Thus, beyond the Response Protocol described here, bias incidents may also be subject to investigation and adjudication by other campus offices and/or governmental bodies (e.g., police, EEO, etc).
Tips for Responding to Everyday Bigotry from the Southern Poverty Law Center
Implicit Bias Test from Harvard University Project Implicit
The Hate Symbol Database from the Anti-Defamation League
Reporting & University Response
Our BIRT reporting system is not live-monitored; therefore, if you are at threat of harm or immediate risk, call 911 or 303.871.3000 (Campus Safety).
Even if perpetrators are not known or discoverable (e.g., unwitnessed, anonymous graffiti) or you're not sure whether it's a policy/law violation, reporting every instance or suspected instance helps document patterns that might lead to identifying those responsible and/or to better support the individuals or communities being targeted.
Reports may be made anonymously, though such reports may limit our ability to respond. You can identify yourself if comfortable, and/or you'd like to be contacted for follow-up. In any case, making a report does not obligate you to participate in a formal conduct process or legal process.
- Reports are received and reviewed by staff of the DU Office of Equal Opportunity & Title IX, who will take action directly, and/or refer to other campus units.
- When incidents do not rise to the level of legal or policy violations, and/or when persons/ communities impacted by any incident may need support, they will refer reports to the Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT).
While specific responses vary based on the details of the reported incidents, possible University responses include:
- Referral of reports to Campus Safety, Housing, Student Conduct, etc for investigation and judicial action (if appropriate).
- Documentation of and prompt removal/repair of property-based damage.
- Increased Campus Safety patrols and other security measures in the area.
- Notification of targeted/affected communities (e.g., residents or employees in the relevant building, leaders of targeted religious communities, etc).
ALL reports are logged and included as part of the ongoing reviews and reports by involved offices, which in turn are used to inform University program, service and resource decisions.Report an Incident