Bias incidents and hate crimes seriously threaten society today. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics show that college campuses are the third most common place for hate crimes to occur. The majority of hate crimes are committed by young people towards other young people. (Stop The Hate/Action Guide, 2006).
A bias incident is conduct, speech, or expression that is motivated by bias or prejudice but, does not involve a criminal act. Bias incidents, however, do violate the campus code of conduct. A hate crime is a criminal offense motivated by bias, particularly against a given race, religion, disability, ethnicity, age, gender, or sexual orientation. The offender's bias makes it a hate crime. This bias results from the belief that certain people are subhuman and that they deserve to be harassed or even eliminated (Gopinathan, 2002).
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crimes Statistics Act of 1982 requires all colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to keep and disclose information about crimes on and near their respective campuses. This act is named in memory of university student, Jeanne Clery who was raped and murdered in 1986. Compliance is monitored by the United States Department of Education.
On a college campus when a hate crime occurs, the ideal of a campus as a place of learning and growth is shattered. Violence and threats that are motivated by bias deprive students of the opportunity to live and learn in an atmosphere free of fear and intimidation and impairs the educational mission of the school.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of a bias incident or a hate crime and lives in residence, contact your Resident Assistant or your Hall Director who will contact the University Police. You may also call the University Police directly at 732-571-4444. If you are a commuter student, call the University Police.
If you are in need of psychological counseling as a result of your experience, contact the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services at 732-571-7517
Additional information on bias and hate may be found on our Web-based Resources page.
Prejudice, Bias, and Hate: Rate Your Behavior
TEN WAYS TO FIGHT HATE ON CAMPUS
The information and ideas that follow can help you fight hate crimes and bias incidents from happening on campus.
Confronted with a hate crime or bias incident, you can:
Inaction in the face of hate can be viewed as apathy or even as support for bigotry itself. Do something. Don’t let hate go unchallenged.
Bias incidents and hate crimes can divide a campus community. Don’t let hate tear your campus apart. Pull together instead.
When hate strikes, don’t remain silent. Join others and use your voices to denounce bigotry and to help guide the administration in its role.
Any planned response to a hate crime or bias incident must take into account the victims’ needs and wishes. Often, decisions are made on behalf of the victims but without their input.
How do you know if you are dealing with a hate crime or a bias incident? Hate crimes are handled by the criminal justice system; bias incidents are governed by campus policy.
If the media comes to campus during a bias incident, what happens? What happens if they don’t come at all? Be prepared to work with them.
Be prepared to negotiate your way through problem areas such as institutional racism and bigotry on your campus. Be sure you have the correct information so that you can promote effective change.
Bias crises bring pain, anger, and distrust to the campus; however they also present an opportunity for learning. Don’t miss the chance.
When the immediate crisis is over, what happens? How do you keep things moving forward?
Pass the Torch
When you leave campus, will you leave behind a legacy of activism that will inspire new students?
Adapted from Tolerance.org 2004