Bias Incident Policy and Reporting Protocol

Seattle Pacific University seeks to be a community free of hurtful bias incidents.

Anti-Bias Policy

Bias-related incidents can be any physical, spoken, visual, or written acts of abuse, harassment, intimidation, or vulgarity, or remarks of a personally destructive nature toward another person because of actual or perceived defining characteristics. This can occur whether the act is intentional or unintentional, or is directed toward an individual or group regarding race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, creed, age, national origin, citizenship status, physical or mental disability, veteran status, or any other status protected under applicable local, state, or federal law. Some bias-related incidents may also constitute acts of discrimination and/or harassment. This policy is not intended to prohibit or limit the free exchange of ideas presented or debated in a respectful manner.

The University seeks to support individuals who have experienced bias-related incidents, educate the campus community about the harmful effects of bias, and hold individuals accountable for violations of University policy.

Scope of Response

The instructions and procedures outlined on this website are intended for SPU students, SPU employees, and other SPU community members. Other individuals who experience a bias-related incident on SPU’s campus or that involve SPU employees or students may also make reports using SPU’s bias-related incident reporting form, but SPU may modify its response protocols in such situations, depending on the circumstances.

What Should You Do If a Bias Incident Occurs?

If you are injured, or fear immediate physical harm, call 911 (if off-campus) or SPU’s Office of Safety and Security at 206-281-2911 (if on-campus).

Regardless of whether there is an immediate risk of physical harm, the University encourages all community members to report any bias-related incidents that occur on campus or that are committed by SPU employees or students. Filing a report helps the university offer support to individuals who have been harmed by bias-related incidents as well as respond to incidents in a way that can educate the community and cultivate a healthy working and learning environment. Reports can be filed by both victims and witnesses of bias-related incidents.

In making reports about bias-related incidents, it is helpful for the University to have as much documentation as possible and to learn about the incident as quickly as possible. Evidence that can be useful (where applicable) includes: photographs; copies of emails or text messages; written transcriptions of verbal comments made immediately after the incident; and names and contact information for witnesses or others involved in an incident. In making reports, please be as accurate and factual as possible—specific details of incidents are more helpful for evaluation than labels or characterizations alone. Individuals are still encouraged to report bias-related incidents even if they do not have supporting evidence and/or there is a significant time lapse between the incident and the report, but these factors may affect the University’s ability to respond to the incident. Similarly, individuals are encouraged to make reports about bias-related incidents even if they don’t know who is responsible for the incident.

As a Christian community seeking to live out an ethic of care, SPU community members are also encouraged to practice safe, gracious, and conscientious bystander intervention in appropriate circumstances. While attempting to intervene in a situation may not always be appropriate (e.g., if there is a physical safety threat), in other times one of the most effective ways to counteract bias is to identify it right when it occurs, especially for a University employee with authority to respond to incidents occurring among employees they supervise.

Reporting

REPORT A BIAS INCIDENT HERE.

You can also contact one of the individuals listed below if you need someone to talk to, or if you would like to seek resources for support.


For Employees

Dr. Raedene Copeland
Assistant Provost for Inclusive Faculty Excellence
(206) 281-2147
rcopeland@spu.edu
On campus: Demaray Hall 349
By mail: Seattle Pacific University, 3307 3rd Ave W, Suite 108, Seattle WA 98119

Dr. Sandra Mayo
Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence
(206) 281-2191
mayos@spu.edu
On campus: Demaray Hall 253
By mail: 3307 3rd Ave W, Suite 207, Seattle, WA 98119

Mr. Gary Womelsduff
Director of Human Resources
206-281-2678
womelg@spu.edu
On campus: 330 W Nickerson St
By mail: 3307 3rd Ave W, Suite 302, Seattle, WA 98119

For Students

Dr. Jeff Jordan
Vice Provost for Student Formation and Community Engagement
(206) 281-2481
jordaj2@spu.edu
On campus: Student Union Building Room 209 (second floor)
By mail: 3307 3rd Ave W, Suite 212, Seattle, WA 98119

Dr. Sandra Mayo
Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence
(206) 281-2191
mayos@spu.edu
On campus: Demaray Hall 253
By mail: 3307 3rd Ave W, Suite 207, Seattle, WA 98119

Rev. Lisa Ishihara
University Chaplain
(206) 281-2458
chaplainlisa@spu.edu
On campus: Student Union BuildingRoom 200 (second floor)
By mail: 3307 3rd Ave W, Suite 207, Seattle, WA 98119

Self-Identified and Anonymous Reports

An individual submitting a report may include their name and contact information or may submit the report anonymously. When reporters identify themselves, SPU can follow up to seek additional information and provide referrals to needed resources. If a reporter chooses to remain anonymous, this may limit SPU’s ability to fully investigate and address issues that are raised.

If you choose to remain anonymous, please provide as much information about the incident as possible to help the University respond to the situation. Also, please note that even if you report anonymously, it is possible that the accused may be able to guess the identity of an individual making an anonymous report. If you believe you experience retaliation after making an anonymous report, please contact the Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence. SPU employees who have reporting obligations under SPU policy may be obligated to identify themselves when making reports about particular types of incidents.

What Can You Expect Once You File a Report?

Upon receipt of a report, the Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence, in consultation with appropriate offices on campus, will review the report and determine necessary measures to address the incident.

Self-Identified Reports

By selecting “Self-Identified,” the reporter can expect:
  • to be contacted by the Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence, who will provide an opportunity to further describe the incident and discuss desired outcomes; 
  • to be informed of further procedural options, including but not limited to mediation, the Discrimination and Harassment Grievance Procedure, and the Anti-Bullying Complaint Procedure;
  • to receive information on University support resources;
  • to be notified of follow up when appropriate; and
  • that the report will provide data for annual summary reports for the purpose of monitoring bias incidents and (if applicable) for Clery Act compliance.

The person(s) about whom a report is made can expect:

  • to be notified by the Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence, with consent from the alleged victim, that a report has been submitted and to be provided with information about the report. (The accused may also be notified, without consent, if notification is required by law or if the alleged conduct is otherwise sufficiently serious to merit intervention even over the objection of the alleged victim);
  • that no sanctions or formal disciplinary action will be taken as the result solely of submissions through the Bias Incident Reporting System; and
  • that the report will provide data for annual summary reports for the purpose of monitoring bias incidents and (if applicable) for Clery Act compliance.

Anonymous Reports

By submitting without reporter’s name or contact information, the reporter can expect:

  • that the report will be received and reviewed;
  • that they will not receive feedback or information about the outcome of their report;
  • that there may be contact from the Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence with the person(s) about whom a report is made; and
  • that the report will provide data for annual summary reports for the purpose of monitoring bias incidents and (if applicable) for Clery Act compliance.

The person(s) about whom a report is made can expect:

  • to be notified by the Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence;
  • that no sanctions or formal disciplinary action will be taken as the result solely of submissions through the Bias Incident Reporting System; and
  • that the report will provide data for annual summary reports for the purpose of monitoring bias incidents and (if applicable) for Clery Act compliance.

Information reported may become part of a student’s academic record and subject to FERPA. FERPA may also limit the amount of information that can be shared with an individual about the response the University takes with respect to a student accused of engaging in bias-related conduct. Information reported about employees may become part of an employee’s file and may be included in performance review proceedings and taken into account when considering opportunities for promotion and salary increase. 

Coordination with University Offices and/or Local Law Enforcement

Bias incidents that violate the University’s Student Standards of Conduct may be referred to the Office of Student Life and addressed through the Student Accountability Process. Reports of bias incidents involving staff or faculty may be referred to Human Resources or Office of the Provost as appropriate. The University may coordinate with local law enforcement on any bias incident report which may violate Washington state law.

Disciplinary and Non-Disciplinary Response

Furthermore, SPU officials may consider both disciplinary and non-disciplinary responses to reports of bias-related incidents. Responses may include educational activities and mediated conflict-resolution processes. Some of the primary objectives of bias-incident response are providing care, restoring relationships, education, conversation, and (where necessary) accountability. 

Confidentiality

University officials will seek to respect any request for confidentiality from a person who makes a report.  However, University officials will disclose information as described on this webpage, and may determine that additional disclosures of information are necessary as well (e.g., the University may determine that it must disclose some or all of the information it receives in order to comply with legal requirements or processes, or to protect the health and safety of individuals). Plus, taking action in response to a report may result in others learning about a reported incident, and the University cannot guarantee that other individuals who learn about bias-incident reports (e.g., the accused, witnesses) will treat information as confidential.

Retaliation

The University strictly prohibits retaliation against any student or employee who, in good faith, makes a report about a bias-related incident. Any person who believes he or she has been retaliated against can make a report to the Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence or the Director of Human Resources. Any student or employee engaging in any such retaliation is subject to discipline, possibly up to dismissal or termination, as applicable.

Records of Reported Incidents

The Office of Inclusive Excellence will maintain a record of reported bias incidents and will provide a yearly summary of reported incidents by total number of reported incidents, the type of bias incident, the number of incidents related to each characteristic, and the general locations of the reported incidents. Records of reported incidents will be maintained to identify patterns of reported bias on campus.

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