Responding to Bias

As part of our efforts to create as inclusive a community as possible, when bias incidents occur at Columbia we provide an opportunity for those involved to engage in education, advocacy and conversation. In this way, we work to address the incident and minimize the potential for future occurrences.

Bias is an inclination in favor of or against a person, group, object or place. We all have biases that can at times lead to unfair or hurtful outcomes for others. It is important to address bias incidents because they can have immediate and long-term effects on students directly impacted and our campus climate.

Our community’s tools to address bias include a reporting process and the Bias Incident Resource Team, plus resources within schools and various offices. Below is information about the tools, as well as an FAQ.

Bias Incidents Reporting Process

A report of bias to the University on the “report an incident” link will go immediately to members of the Bias Incident Resource Team (known as the Team). The Team will review the report and respond to you within two business days. The Team includes staff from the Office of University Life, Student Conduct and Community Standards, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action and your Dean of Students. 

Where a report alleges bias behavior that could violate the University Non-Discrimination Policies, Student Conduct and Community Standards or Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action will review the report and investigate as appropriate.  

If it does not appear that a University Policy has been violated in the reported incident, you will be offered an opportunity to meet with a member of the Team. This meeting is voluntary and we encourage your participation as a way to strengthen our campus climate. 

During the meeting, Team members will share information about supportive University resources and talk with you about additional options for addressing the incident. Team members can also assist in implementing remedying solutions, such as facilitated dialogues and educational opportunities. 

The Team is not a disciplinary or investigatory body. This means that the Team does not impose sanctions related to incidents. Instead, the Team’s focus is on creating opportunities for community members to address the situation through dialogue and education, and supporting positive change for the individuals involved and the community as a whole.