Bias Incident Response Process

Bias Incident Response Process

Learn more about Merrimack College’s bias incident response process. 

Our Mission

Sakowich Center Aerial ViewThe Bias Response Team is committed to Merrimack College’s mission to enlighten minds, engage hearts and empower lives. This team is inspired by the Catholic faith and the Augustinian tradition of seeking truth through inquiry and dialogue. This commitment is done through the vision to:

  • Prepare students to adapt creatively to tomorrow’s realities through excellence in the liberal arts, sciences and the professions.
  • Build a community of scholars welcoming and respecting a diversity of backgrounds, experiences, beliefs and perspectives.
  • Cultivate the intellectual, moral, spiritual, physical and personal awareness needed to make wise choices for life, career and service.
  • Encourage and support scholarly work that contributes to the wisdom on which society bases its decisions.
  • Engage other educational institutions, industry and agencies of social change in collaborative efforts fostering a just, peaceful and sustainable world.

Reporting a Bias Incident

What is an act of bias?

Bias is defined by Merrimack College as an act, verbal, written, physical and/or, psychological, that is threatening, harmful, intimidating or hostile to a person or group on the basis of race, gender, religion, color, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ancestry, disability, or any other status protected by law.

Free Expression of Ideas by Community Members

Higher education is defined by its exchange of ideas – freely and openly. All members of the Merrimack College community are free to express their viewpoints in public forums as private citizens, including viewpoints that may be perceived by others to be unwelcoming or intolerant. We do not restrict free expression, as long as there are no violations of the law and that College policy and guidelines are followed. While members of our community are free to express themselves, that does not mean that one’s words or actions do not have an effect on others.

Bias acts can be disruptive to individuals and our community and often warrant discussion or education about how they affect other members of the College’s community. Those acts of bias will result in discipline if they are found in violation of civil, criminal or College community standards

Regardless of whether acts are considered violations of law or the College’s community standards, Merrimack constantly strives to provide a community of scholars that creates a community of safety and interpersonal respect.

 

Merrimack’s Bias Response Team

The Bias Response Team strives to provide a campus environment that is safe and where all members are respected. The team’s responsibilities include supporting people who experience a bias incident, monitoring the reporting of these incidents, and recommending next steps to minimize bias on campus.

Meet Our Bias Incident Response Team Members

What are the Goals of Merrimack’s Bias Response Team?
  • To provide a streamlined system for the campus community to report bias incidents.
  • To respond to bias incidents with input from impacted individuals and key stakeholders.
  • To support community members impacted by bias incidents.
  • To collect data and review patterns of bias incidents on campus in order to provide recommendations to college leadership for education, training, and policies.
  • To share information on resources for community prevention and postvention initiatives.
  • To ensure a culture and community of interpersonal respect, regardless of one’s race, gender, religion, color, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ancestry, disability, or any other status protected by law.

Submitting Bias Reports

Submit Bias Report Now

Once a Report is Submitted, What Happens Next?
  1. Once a report is received it is reviewed by a representative of the Bias Response Team.
  2. A representative will connect with the reporting party as soon as possible to schedule a meeting.
  3. Once more information is gathered, the Bias Response Team will convene, discuss the incident and determine the next appropriate measures. Next measures could be further investigation, mediation, civil process, criminal process, discipline, conflict resolution, legal compliance, educational, community response, or that no further action is needed.
  4. Once a bias incident report is closed, it will be recorded for the College’s use to help improve the campus climate.

It is important to report a bias if you are the target or witness of a bias incident. All reports are managed as sensitively and confidentially as possible. The Bias Response Team or its designees are the essential personnel who will be involved in responding.

If this is an emergency, please contact Merrimack College Police Department at 978-837-5444.

Response to Bias Reports

The Bias Response Team has offered the following responses to bias incidents:

  • Recommendation of support services for those impacted
  • Community messaging through campus meetings
  • Provided a space for educational conversations and resources
  • Referral to another office (Merrimack Police Department, Community Standards, and or Human Resources)
  • Direct conversations with parties involved, in which direct feedback is given
 

Bias Incident Workflow Chart