Guidelines for Reporting Bias-Related Confrontations and Incidents

The University makes a clear distinction between bias-related incidents prompted by intolerant behaviors and illegal discrimination based on issues of sex, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, disability, sexual preference, sexual orientation, marital status, and veteran status. Matters of discrimination in the identified categories are handled by the Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion. See Appendix 1 of this document for reporting procedures.

Guidelines for Reporting Bias-Related Confrontations and Incidents

Student Life coordinates the University's response to reports of intolerance toward students that are specifically manifested as bias-related incidents. In defining intolerant behaviors constituting bias-related acts, the following definition is used:

An act of intolerance is any attempt to injure, harm or harass a person because of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, gender, pregnancy, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, familial status, veteran status, military status, domestic violence victim status or ex-offender status.

  • Such behavior includes acts or attempts that may pose physical or psychological harm or threat to individuals, groups, the University or the community.
  • An act of intolerance differs from other acts of intimidation or criminal behavior because it is motivated by hatred of the characteristics or beliefs of the victim. Acts of intolerance are conscious, deliberate behaviors in contrast to insensitive acts, which may be the result of lack of awareness.

Summary of Guidelines for Reporting Bias-Related Confrontations and Incidents

1. Students are encouraged to report all types of bias-related incidents precipitated by intolerant behaviors.

  • In the case of physical confrontation or injury resulting from a bias-related incident, contact University Police immediately at 716-645-2222.
  • For all other bias-related incidents, call Student Life at 716-645-2982.

2. The Vice President for Student Life or representative will immediately:

  • Contact University Police and Judicial Affairs and Student Advocacy, which will assume responsibility for managing the reported incident.
  • Collaborate with University Police and Judicial Affairs and Student Advocacy in assessing the situation, determining whom to call, and identifying what additional procedures, if any, are needed.
  • When appropriate, notify other University units such as University News Bureau.

I. Responding to a Reported Incident

When a bias-related incident is reported:

  • Student Life will dispatch a response team to include:
    • Individually or collectively, the Associate Vice President for Student Life, the Coordinator for Intercultural and Diversity Center, and the Director of Judicial Affairs
    • Representatives of other offices such as --
      • Campus Ministries Association, Student Health Services, Office of the Provost, University Police, Campus Living, Counseling Services, University News Bureau, Human Resources or University Services, as deemed appropriate.

II. Physical Confrontations

If a bias-related incident should accelerate into a physical confrontation, witnesses should:

  • Contact University Police immediately at 716-645-2222
    • University Police will begin implementing a plan of action.
    • University Police will notify the Vice President for Student Life who will coordinate the University’s response plan.

III. Bias-Related Graffiti

In the case of bias-related graffiti:

  • The Vice President for Student Life will contact University Police who will:
    • Take photographs of the defaced property as a normal part of the investigative process.
    • Contact the Office of Customer Service for immediate cleaning of the area.

IV. Communicating with the Media

Many bias-related incidents may attract outside media. The Vice President for Student Life, in concert with the University News Bureau, has responsibility for all press releases or official University statements regarding bias-related incidents. No comments should be made to the media by unauthorized individuals.

V. Areas Restricted to the Public and the Press

  • Residence halls constitute a private area reserved for student life.
  • Members of the press or media personnel, like members of the public, are not permitted entry to these areas.
  • If members of the press or media have entered or are attempting to enter residence life areas in response to an incident in the residence halls.
  • Campus Living employees or authorized University personnel have the right to forbid entry or request that outsiders leave the premises.

VI. The Role of the Witnesses

In the event that a bias-related incident develops in any area:

  • An accurate investigation must be conducted by Student Life and University Police.
  • Parties witnessing the incident may be the most valuable resources the University has in reconstructing the incident so that an appropriate University response can be made.
  • Witnesses’ willingness to step forward and speak about bias-related incidents can be of great assistance in understanding what went wrong.

Prior to the arrival of representatives from University Police and/or the Office of the Vice President for Student Life, staff members or student witnessing the incident should:

  • Record their observations of what occurred and what appeared to have precipitated the incident
  • Attempt to identify as many people as possible who were participants in the altercation.

The University would like to eliminate bias-related incidents, but should one occur, assistance and cooperation by witnesses are needed to manage the incident intelligently and to see that appropriate steps are taken to assist victims of these acts.

  • It is imperative that an attempt to minimize the damage and control rumors remains a priority.
  • A determination as to what course of action will be taken against the offending parties will be made later by the appropriate University authorities.

Appendix 1: PROCEDURES FOR REPORTING BIAS-RELATED CONFRONTATIONS AND INCIDENTS

Students should report all bias-related incidents to: University Police: 716-645-2222


Student Life: 716-645-2982

INCIDENT IMMEDIATE ACTION FOLLOW-UP ACTION

When reporting:

 

Bias-related physical confrontation or injury.

Call University Police immediately at 716-645-2222. Identify clearly the location of the incident. University Police notifies Student Life. Student Life dispatches response team. Response team will: Support the investigation as requested by University Police; provide support to victim(s) and others on site affected by the incident, arrange for immediate care if required; arrange for counseling if desired; implement rumor control strategies; manage information reported to the community; initiate a University response in collaboration with the Office of the President and other key offices as deemed appropriate; prepare a report for the VP of Student Life.

Bias-related vandalism in a room or office.

Call University Police immediately at 716-645-2222. University Police notifies Student Life. Student Life notifies response team.

Same as procedure for bias-related confrontation.

Bias-related graffiti.

 

Give specific location and description. (For example, profanity painted on the wall in the hallway near Room 415; or, in the ladies' room on the 2nd floor of Norton near Room 214 in the second stall, on door, etc.)

Call Student Life at 716-645-2982 and University Police at 716-645-2222. University Police take photographs and call Customer Service at 716-645-2025. Customer Service dispatches appropriate work crew to remove graffiti immediately. Student Life meets with University Police to determine follow-up action. If graffiti has been directed toward an individual, the VP of Student Life or designee will meet with the individual to offer and arrange for counseling or other support services as desired.
Bias-related mail, posters, or flyers. Send or bring copy to Student Life, 520 Capen Hall. Student Life will notify University Police and forward copy. Same as procedure for bias-related graffiti.
Bias-related sexual harassment.

Call University Police immediately at 716-645-2222. University Police notifies Student Life. Student Life notifies response team.

Response team will: Support the investigation as requested by University Police; provide support to victim(s) and others on site affected by the incident; arrange for immediate care if required; arrange for counseling if desired; manage information reported to the campus and external community; and initiate a University response in collaboration with the Office of the President and other key offices as deemed appropriate; prepare a report for the VP of Student Life.

Appendix 2: Campus Guidelines for Reporting Discrimination Based on Sex, Race, Ethnicity, National Origin, Religion, Disability, Sexual Preference, Sexual Orientation, Marital Status and Veteran Status

Report all discrimination incidents involving students to: Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI)
 406 Capen Hall 
716-645-2266; 716-645-3952 (fax)

If you believe that you have been discriminated against because of your sex, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, disability, sexual preference, sexual orientation, marital status or veteran status, the following steps can be taken:

1. Contact the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Office (EDI), 406 Capen Hall, 716-645-2266, for an appointment to report the incident. Victims of bias-related incidents constituting a crime will be strongly encouraged by the EDI Office to file a report immediately with University Police. 

2. After determining the nature of the complaint, the EDI officer will attempt an informal resolution by talking with the alleged offender's supervisor.

a. After this, a meeting may be arranged to include the alleged offender, his or her supervisor, and the complainant. At this meeting, the EDI officer will act as a mediator in an attempt to resolve the issue.

b. If the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of the informal negotiations, a formal grievance may be initiated.

3. Formal grievances may be filed with any of the following:

a. Within the University, through the EDI Office

b. New York State Division of Human Rights, 65 Court Street, Buffalo, NY 14202, 716-847-7632

c. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), 6 Fountain Plaza, Suite 350, Buffalo, NY 14202, 716-551-4441

d. Office of Civil Rights, Federal Building, 26 Federal Plaza, New York, NY 10276

4. Pursue civil action through the courts.

NOTE: The EDI Office will provide further details about any of the information listed above.

For more information:

Elizabeth Lidano

9 Norton Hall

Buffalo, NY 14260 

Phone: 716-645-6154