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2015-16 Academic Year (through 2016 Summer Session) Reports of Student-Target Bias-Related Incidents

December 2, 2016

View the 2015-16 Bias Summary .pdf

2015-16 Academic Year (through 2016 Summer Session)
Reports of Student-Target Bias-Related Incidents

The University promotes an inclusive and welcoming environment that embraces the full spectrum of human attributes, perspectives, and disciplines. When people of different backgrounds come together, they exchange ideas, question assumptions (including their own), and broaden the horizons for us all. A University of Virginia community rich in diversity affords every member equal respect and provides a forum for understanding our differences as well as our commonalities.

The University maintains policies on Preventing and Addressing Discrimination and Harassment, Preventing and Addressing Retaliation, and preventing and addressing Sexual and Gender-based Harassment and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence.

The University encourages prompt reporting of bias complaints so that it can investigate the alleged facts for possible violation(s) of University policy, including the Standards of Conduct, and refer such complaints to law enforcement to determine whether an independent investigation for violation(s) of criminal law is warranted.

Although the expression of an idea or point of view may be offensive or inflammatory to some, it is not necessarily a violation of law or University policy. The University values and embraces the ideals of freedom of inquiry, freedom of thought, and freedom of expression, all of which must be vitally sustained in a community of scholars. While these freedoms protect controversial ideas and differing views, and sometimes even offensive or hurtful words, they do not protect personal threats or acts of misconduct which violate criminal law or University policy.

The University’s Diversity Council includes representatives from the faculty, students and administration, and meets periodically “to discuss and consider forward-looking, proactive strategies, methods, and approaches that will help to make U.Va a more diverse and welcoming environment at all levels.”

Below is a summary of all incidents reported through the University’s Just Report It (“JRI”) system as “bias” related or motivated in the opinion of the reporting student, faculty, staff or community member. A total of fourteen (14) specific incidents were reported via JRI.

Reports by Month (Incident Date):
*August 2015: 1
*September 2015: 0
*October 2015: 5
*November 2015: 1
*December 2015: 2
*January 2016: 2
*February 2016: 2
*March 2016: 0
*April 2016: 1
*May 2016: 0
*June 2016: 0
*July 2016: 0

Reports addressed using the University’s Policy on Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence (Title IX) are not included in this summary, with the exception of reports indicating a bias target of LGBTQ sexual orientation/sexual identity.

The reports have been classified into one of four categories:

[1] As explained on the Just Report It website, the University defines a “bias” report as “any report of a threat or act of harassment or intimidation – verbal, written or physical – which is personally directed against or targets a University of Virginia student because of that student’s age, color, disability, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, veteran status or family medical or genetic information.” There are three (3) reports received via JRI that describe conduct defined by the University as motivated by bias.

Reported Bias Target:
*Race: 1
*National/Ethnic Origin: 1
*Sexual Orientation/Identity: 1
Reported Conduct Type:
*Verbal Harassment: 3
*Physical Assault: 2
Reported Location:
*Public Space Off-Grounds: 3

Reports Submitted Anonymously: 0
Some reports are counted more than once in terms of conduct type or bias target, as certain reports are described as involving multiple forms of conduct and/or bias targets. In addition, multiple Just Report It reports received concerning the same incident are counted as a single report in this summary.
The University’s definition of bias may not be the definition of bias used by federal agencies.

Alleged Perpetrator(s) Unknown: 1
Alleged Perpetrator(s) Identified: 2
* Disciplinary Referral/Sanctions: 2

In instances where an alleged perpetrator is unknown, the University’s ability to respond is limited. However, reporting these incidents remains important, as it informs the University’s efforts to prevent future bias incidents, such as public announcements, enhanced or targeted training (e.g., the current development of implicit bias training for students), community forums (e.g., the Provost’s fall 2016 charrette), increased resources, and creation of a bias review team.
In instances where an alleged perpetrator is identified and a policy violation is established, available sanctions may include educational, restorative, rehabilitative, and punitive components. Students facing disciplinary referral may be subject to a range of sanctions including admonition, restitution, no-contact directives, counseling and educational programs, community service, suspension and expulsion. Non-disciplinary interventions and remedies include a host of actions such as increased monitoring, supervision, and/or security at locations or activities where the reported conduct occurred or is likely to reoccur; targeted or broad-based educational programming or training for relevant individuals or groups; academic and/or University housing modifications for student complainants; workplace modifications for employee complainants; and other restorative measures. Employees facing disciplinary referral may be subject to a range of sanctions including informal and formal counseling, transfer of position, removal of administrative appointment, demotion, suspension and termination of employment.


[2] Four (4) reports received via Just Report It describe conduct that is not “personally directed against or targets” an identified student and thus do not meet the University’s definition of “bias,” although the reports describe “a threat or act of harassment or intimidation” that is directed against or targets a group based on one or more protected characteristics described in the University’s definition.
Reported Bias Target:
*Race: 3
*Sexual Orientation/Identity: 2
Reported Conduct Type:
*Verbal Harassment: 1
*Written/Online Harassment: 3
Reported Location:
*First Year Residence: 1
*Public Space On-Grounds: 2
*Online/Internet: 1

Reports Submitted Anonymously: 1

Alleged Perpetrator(s) Unknown: 3
Alleged Perpetrator(s) Identified: 1
* Non-Disciplinary Interventions & Remedies: 1

[3] Six (6) reports received via Just Report It, upon review: (a) do not appear to involve any bias-motivated conduct, or (b) involve otherwise protected speech.
Reported Bias Target:
*Race: 1
*National/Ethnic Origin: 2
*Sexual Orientation/Identity: 2
*Religion: 1
Reported Conduct Type:
*Verbal Harassment: 2
*Discriminatory Treatment: 2
*Insensitive Actions: 2
*Physical Assault: 1
Reported Location:
*First Year Residence: 1
*Academic Building: 2
*Non-Academic University Building: 1
*Public Space On-Grounds: 1
*Public Space Off-Grounds: 1

Reports Submitted Anonymously: 0

Alleged Perpetrator(s) Unknown: 1
Alleged Perpetrator(s) Identified: 5
* Disciplinary Referral/Sanctions: 1
* Non-Disciplinary Interventions & Remedies: 4

[4] One (1) report received via Just Report It does not describe conduct with sufficient detail to allow evaluation and such information is not readily ascertainable by other means.
Reported Bias Target
*Sexual Orientation/Identity: 1
Reported Conduct Type:
*Verbal Harassment: 1
Reported Location:
*Upper-Class Residence: 1

Reports Submitted Anonymously: 1

Alleged Perpetrator(s) Unknown: 1
Alleged Perpetrator(s) Identified: 0