Bias Incident Response

Expect Respect

What is an Incident of Bias?

Personal experience with or witness accounts that demonstrate bias against age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, military status, national origin, pregnancy, protected veteran status, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.


Scenario #1. Zach is a sophomore taking BIO155. Alicia is Zach’s lab partner. Zach is having trouble understanding concepts in class, and he lashes out to Alicia one day for moving too quickly. Angry and upset, Alicia calls Zach an offensive word referring to his sexuality.

  • Response. In Zach’s case, the Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity investigates and does not find the incident rises to the level of discrimination or harassment. The case is referred to the Dean of Students, who meets with Alicia and determines non-disciplinary, but educational outcomes.
Scenario #2. Dana is a sophomore living in the residence hall. On her way to class one day, she notices a racial slur on the whiteboard outside of her room.
  • Response. Because the identity of the responsible party is unknown for the dry erase board slur, the Dean of Students follows up with Dana to discuss options and resources. The residence hall community provides educational programming, and the incident is documented and resolved.

Scenario #3. Jasper played on a Club Sports team for the past year and a half. After a short leave of absence due to mental health related matter, Jasper is back and ready to compete. But the club president questions Jasper’s “stability” and requires that he try out for the team again.

  • Response. The Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity investigates and finds the incident rises to the level of discrimination. The case is referred to the Office of Community Standards and the formal disciplinary process begins.

Importance of Reporting

Reporting an act of bias helps us address incidents that erode Miamian’s trust and sense of belonging, ensures members of our community receive support and are connected to necessary resources, and provides a record of incidents, allowing us to track issues and identify patterns or trends. 

Glossary of Terminology

The following terms meant to provide clarification on how actions may be categorized or labeled. These terms describe behaviors, not people. It is important to note that this glossary is not exhaustive and as our understanding of language continues to evolve, so may our understanding and usage of these terms. This list may find this information to expand self awareness and identify opportunities for further education and exploration.

  • Ableism: prejudiced thoughts and discriminatory actions based on differences in physical, mental and/or emotional ability; usually that of able‐bodied/minded persons against people with illness or disabilities
  • Anti‐Semitism: the fear or hatred of Jews, Judaism and related symbols
  • Bias: prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.
  • Biphobia: the fear or hatred of persons perceived to be bisexual
  • Classism: prejudiced thoughts and discriminatory actions based on difference in socio‐economic status, income, class; usually by upper classes against lower classes
  • Discrimination: actions based on conscious or unconscious prejudice that favor one group over others in the provision of goods, services or opportunities
  • Hate Crime: hate crime legislation often defines a hate crime as a crime motivated by the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability or sexual orientation of any person
  • Heterosexism: viewing the world only in heterosexual terms, thus denigrating other sexual orientations
  • Homophobia: the fear or hatred of homosexuality (and other nonheterosexual identities) and persons perceived to be gay or lesbian
  • Implicit Bias: occurs when someone consciously rejects stereotypes and supports antidiscrimination efforts but also holds negative associations in his/her mind unconsciously
  • In‐group Bias: the tendency for groups to “favor” themselves by rewarding group members economically, socially, psychologically and emotionally in order to uplift one group over another
  • Islamophobia: the fear or hatred of Muslims, Islam and related symbols
  • Marginalized: excluded, ignored or relegated to the outer edge of a group/society/community
  • Microaggression: everyday insults, indignities and demeaning messages sent to historically marginalized groups by well-intentioned members of the majority group who are unaware of the hidden messages being sent
  • Oppression: results from the use of institutional power and privilege where one person or group benefits at the expense of another; oppression is the use of power and the effects of domination
  • Prejudice: a preconceived judgment about a person or group of people, usually indicating negative bias
  • Racism: prejudiced thoughts and discriminatory actions based on difference in race/ethnicity, usually by white/European descent groups against people of color
  • Sexism: prejudiced thoughts and discriminatory actions based on difference in sex/gender, usually by men against women
  • Silencing: the conscious or unconscious processes by which the voice or participation of particular social identities is excluded or inhibited
  • Stereotype: blanket beliefs, unconscious associations and expectations about members of certain groups that present an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude or uncritical judgment. Stereotypes go beyond necessary and useful categorizations and generalizations in that they are typically negative, are based on little information and are highly generalized
  • System of Oppression: conscious and unconscious, nonrandom, and organized harassment, discrimination, exploitation, discrimination, prejudice and other forms of unequal treatment that impact different groups
  • Transphobia: the fear or hatred of persons perceived to be transgender 
  • Xenophobia: dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.


Adapted from the University of Dayton, which was modeled after Washing University in St. Louis guide that was compiled from existing resources provided by the National Conference for Community and Justice, Oregon State University, Arizona State University, Intergroup Relations Center, Gender Roles: A Sociological Perspective, 5/e by Linda Lindsey. Pearson/Prentice-Hall, 2011, The National Center for Transgender Equality,, and, Gender Equity Resource Center, BGSU, University of Michigan, Indiana University, Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice (Ed by Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell, Pat Griffin), and Washington University in St. Louis; with updated definitions from the UD D&I Task Group. 


  1. The Vice President of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion receives a report of a bias-motivated incident.
  2. If a report is a crime or includes a possible policy violation, the matter will be referred to Title IX, Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity, Office of Community Standards, or MUPD.
  3. If a report is not a crime and does not include a possible policy violation, but includes a student, the case is referred to the Office of the Dean of Students (DOS).
  4. If the reporting party has provided contact information and has requested contact, DOS will email or call them to set up a meeting, to discuss the report, and/or to gather additional information.
  5. DOS will also email or call harmed parties to set up a meeting to discuss options and the available support services.
  6. DOS may also email or call responding parties to set up a meeting.
  7. DOS will review all the information and respond appropriately.

Miami takes all reports of bias seriously. The type of follow up varies depending upon the nature of the report or incident. Responses could include the following:

  • Requests for educational conversations
  • Requests for facilitated dialogue, etc.
  • Referrals to other offices and/or programs


Campus Resources

Students affected by bias can seek guidance and emotional support through members of the Office of the Dean of Students BEST (Bias Education & Support Team) team.

The Office of the Dean of Students responds to bias reports involving students and provides support to impacted parties in obtaining resources and navigating options and next steps. To contact, DOS please call 513-529-1877 or email

Community Resources