Responding to Incidents of Bias

Posted on 7/1/2020 2:19:44 PM

While IUP has long taken swift and meaningful actions when incidents of bias and hate arise within the campus community, those actions have not always been visible to our students, employees, and the public. In many cases, our public statements about any particular incident are limited by legal restrictions on sharing confidential information—and that limitation leads to the impression that IUP is not responding to such incidents.

To help correct that impression, we are today making public IUP’s newly revised response protocol for incidents of bias. This protocol outlines the steps IUP will take when an incident of bias or hate arises on our campus.

We encourage you to read the entire protocol. In brief, it specifies that IUP will always do the following in response to any incident of bias or hate:

  1. Assess any threats of imminent harm.

  2. Investigate to determine whether the behavior violates any policies or laws. If so, refer for adjudication and discipline.

  3. Educate the offender and repair the harm done where possible.

  4. Support victims and the community.

  5. Communicate to the IUP community about the incident, support resources, and IUP’s actions.

This protocol centers on restorative justice: once the safety of our community is assured, we focus, whenever possible, on repairing the harm caused by these incidents. These conversations and restorative actions can take place even when the actions in questions do not violate a policy or law. Our whole community benefits when those who cause harm take responsibility for their actions and work to repair or mitigate the damage they have done.

We hope that sharing this protocol helps clarify how IUP responds, even when we can’t share specifics about a particular incident.

There is more work going on that we hope to be able to share soon. The generous gift from Tim and Debra Phillips Cejka ’73 will make possible additional education and training, research, mentoring and student support, curricula review, and scholarships. The Building Bridges and Breaking the Barrier series, sponsored by the Center for Multicultural Student Leadership and Engagement, will continue throughout the summer. And today on IUP.edu you’ll find a Q&A with Elise Glenn where she discusses IUP’s progress on racial justice issues.

We will continue to keep you informed of our progress toward making IUP a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist campus.

Elise Glenn
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer and Title IX Coordinator

Tom Segar
Vice President for Student Affairs