Stop Bias

What is bias?

A bias incident is an act of bigotry, harassment, intimidation, coercion, or damage to property by known or unknown perpetrators that occurs on the Florida International University campus or within an area that impacts the FIU community. These can be associated with negative feelings and beliefs with respect to others race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, political affiliation, disability, veteran status, club affiliation or organizational membership.

Purpose of the Bias Education and Response Team

While valuing freedom of thought and expression, Florida International University is committed to an inclusive living and learning community that celebrates differences, values each student, and fosters an atmosphere of civility and respect. The team will document bias-based occurrences on-campus in order to better understand students' experiences in the FIU community. 

The Bias Education and Response Team (BERT) does not formally investigate, arbitrate, or replace existing Florida International University processes or services. BERT does not initiate disciplinary action or impose sanctions regarding bias incidents. BERT complements formal processes by connecting anyone targeted by acts of bias, or witnesses impacted by such acts, to appropriate university resources and support. Data collected from bias incident reports may be used to develop educational programs and interventions that support our diverse FIU community.

Reporting incidents of bias

What to expect next

After submitting a report, the Bias Education and Response Team will review it and determine the appropriate next steps, which may include referral to another department, further investigation, etc. A team member will always respond to keep the reporter updated on the status of the case. In cases of anonymous reporting, we are unable to provide a status update on incidents.

Definitions

  • Hate Crime

    A hate crime is defined as any criminal offense or attempted criminal offense that one could reasonably and prudently conclude is motivated, in whole or in part, by the alleged offender's bias against an individual's actual or perceived age, ancestry or ethnicity, color, creed, disability, gender, gender identity or expression, height, immigration or citizenship status, marital status, national origin, race, religion, religious practice, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or weight.

    Examples include:

    1. Physically assaulting someone while using derogatory racial, sexual, etc. words.
    2. Vandalism or “hate” graffiti directed toward a group where it will be seen by members of the targeted group, e.g. painting a swastika on a Jewish temple.
    3. Burning a cross on the lawn of a black couple.
  • Micro-aggressions

    Micro-aggressions are everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional that communicate hostile, derogatory or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.

    Examples include:

    1. An Asian American, born and raised in the United States, is complimented for speaking "good English." (Hidden message: You are not a true American. You are a perpetual foreigner in your own country.)
    2. Whistles or catcalls are heard from men as a woman walks down the street. (Hidden message: Your body/appearance is for the enjoyment of men. You are a sex object.)
    3. A Young person uses the term "gay" to describe a movie that she didn't like. (Hidden message: Being gay is associated with negative and undesirable characteristics.)

How to stop bias

There are many ways to stop bias on campus. All of these ways include changing the culture on campus. This can only be done with the help of students. If you hear or see something that might be offensive, take action. Here are some examples of how you can help change campus culture:

  • Challenge people to say what they mean. For example, when someone says “that’s so gay,” you could ask them if they really mean “gay” or if they were using that word to mean “stupid” or “weird.”
  • Avoid comments like “You don’t act like a normal black person”, “Why do you sound white?”, “Where are you really from?”
  • Engage others in a dialogue and be willing to share your personal experience in order to help others learn more about something they don’t know much about.
  • Practice active listening by listening to others with an open mind and listen to the entire message without judging or refuting.
  • Step outside of your comfort zone by attending programs and events that highlight an issue that makes you uncomfortable or a community that you are unfamiliar with.
  • Speak up when you see or hear something that is bias-related.
  • Report and encourage others to report bias-related incidents. 

Social


Contact

Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs
11200 SW 8th St.
GC 219
Miami, FL 33199

305-348-2797

dos@fiu.edu

Office Hours

Monday - Friday 8 am to 5 pm