The Juniata College Bias Response Team is charged with developing appropriate educational responses to campus issues which may arise from instances of intolerance and/or biased behaviors by working with a group composed of students, faculty, and administrators.
If you have any concerns regarding a bias incident on campus, please fill out a report, or contact one of the members of the team.
Information about recent Bias Response Team meetings can be obtained by contacting the Bias Response Team.
The Bias Response Team serves as a safe and confidential resource for members of the Juniata community to raise immediate concerns regarding specific instances of harassment or other acts of bias-based behavior that appear to violate Juniata's commitment to developing a campus community that celebrates and actively supports diversity along a variety of dimensions including race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, ability/disability, veteran status, family status, and skin color.
The Bias Response Team is neither a judicial nor disciplinary body. It does not decide corrective or punitive actions nor does it “hear cases” in the way a judicial body may. The Bias Response Team’s purpose is to support and educate. When the team receives reports in which details suggest violations of campus conduct codes or criminal behavior, other bodies are notified. Even as other investigations may occur, the Bias Response Team often persists in developing appropriate educational responses and providing support to individuals involved or effected by the incident.
Team membership is by both invitation and interest. The convening chair of the team for academic year 2018-2019 is Matthew Damschroder, vice president for student life and dean of students, and is the person to contact about potential membership opportunities. Below are the membership lists for the Bias Response Team in the year this report covers and for the present year:
2020-2021 Bias Response Team Membership
- Jody Althouse Senior Associate Dean of Health and Wellness
- Matthew Damschroder Vice President for Student Life & Dean of Students
- Grace Fala Professor of Communication
- Taylor Rigatti Residential Life Coordinator-Events Specialist
- Jacoba Rock Assistant Professor of Social Work
- Daniel Welliver Professor of Sociology
- Student Representatives also serve on the Bias Response Team
Summary of Activities
The Bias Response Team (BRT) is committed to sharing with the Juniata campus a view of the activities it undertakes and the reports of instances it receives. Due to the team’s work involving students, staff, and faculty, principles of confidentiality preclude the ability to share specifics of instances. This report does provide a sense of the types of incidents reported (manner), how and to whom they are reported (reporters), the context in which they occur (place), what bias type aggravated the incident (identity target), and what steps were taken in providing resolution and an educational response (resolution). In addition, the report looks at time trends.
Total reports received: In 2017-18, individuals filed 16 reports of unique experiences of bias. Some experiences were reported by multiple parties or through multiple mechanisms such that the BRT received 22 reports total (5 in fall 2017, and 11 in spring 2018). By comparison, 11 discrete incidents were documented in the previous year by 14 reporting parties (7 in fall 2016 and 4 in spring 2017).
Reporters: Students filed the majority (15) of reports, including one anonymous student report and four received from residential life staff. Faculty and staff filed an additional four reports, and the remainder were made anonymously. Thirteen individuals used the online Bias Response Form ( https://www.juniata.edu/offices/dean-of-students/bias-response/ )to share an experience of bias; four shared through residential life incident reporting mechanisms. Three individuals made in-person reports to a Dean of Students, and two incidents were shared in-person with a faculty or staff member who forwarded that report to the BRT.
Manner: Of the experiences shared, 12 included a verbal interaction, either experienced directly (7) or witnessed/observed (5). Reports were made for four incidents of vandalism that included a message or symbol conveying bias, threat, or hate. One experience was related to a campus event perceived to perpetuate bias, and a reported experience reflected a threatening act or gesture. In counting and classifying experiences, a specific instance may be reflected in multiple reported categories. For instance, a verbal interaction might be experienced concurrently with a threatening gesture and be reflected in both counts.
Place: Three of the reports documented experiences that occurred off campus. Of the remaining reports that specified a location, five took place in a residence hall, one took place in a non-residential campus social space, and an additional experience was reported as a part of a co-curricular event. Three additional experiences were reported from classroom interactions and an additional incident that occurred in an academic space that was not a class or classroom.
Identity target: Reports of bias may have intersectional associations. Reported experiences also may have targeted multiple identity characteristics. Six reports documented an experience biased around race, one was related to ancestry, four to ethnic origin, and one related to national origin. Three were associated with religion. One report was related to ability/disability. Two experiences were based in sex/gender, one to gender identity and/or expression, and four were related to sexual orientation.
Resolution: Through deliberative review and discussion of reports and incidents, the BRT determines a thorough and coherent strategy by which a comprehensive response may be made. Multiple modes of response may exist to assist and engage those targeted by, witness to, or affected by an episode of bias. The BRT works to be creative and thoughtful, assuring that responses are effective, meaningful, and purposeful.
To that end, members of the BRT provided support and assistance to persons involved in 11 of the reported experiences. In two instances, the reporter requested no follow-up. One report resulted in the distribution of a campus message, and another instance initiated a programming experience. One of the reports generated a dialogue.
Because the BRT is an educational entity and neither a conduct nor judicial body, its actions are limited to educational response and restorative measures. Since reported incidents can necessitate actions related to conduct and/or judicial processes, the BRT shares information as necessary. The BRT asked Juniata College Public Safety to investigate four submitted reports. Nine reports resulted in referrals to other areas of campus. In four instances, reports initiatied action through the student conduct process. Two instances necessitated referral to Title IX processes. Three reports were referred for action to the Office of the Provost. In all instances where referals were made, appropriate processes were initiated and concluded independently with corresponding consequences associated with processes and protocols of the delegate. Two reports resulted in the initiation of clean-up or repair processes as with vandalism. One report was determined to lack merit and no follow-up was made.
Because of growing campus awareness of the BRT itself, of the ways people can report incidents, and of the educational responses, the team expects the number of reports will grow. The team sees this as positive. Few doubt that such bias instances occur, such that if there were no reports we would be concerned that our community members did not know how and when to contact the team. We also expect, however, that reports will plateau and, at some point, decline, as we take measures to inform, educate, and empower people to create an ever more welcoming and inclusive community at Juniata.
The Bias Response Team intends to publish an annual summary of activities, using the format here and including prior years for context and comparison.
The following pages include tables with comparative numbers described in the preceding summary. Future reports will maintain that data reporting format as well.