Bias Response Group

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Hate Crime?

A hate crime is defined under New York State law (Title Y: Section 485.05 – Hate Crimes) as follows:

A person commits a hate crime when they commit a specified offense and either:

a) intentionally selects the person against whom the offense is committed or intended to be committed in whole or in substantial part because of a belief or perception regarding the race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation of a person, regardless of whether the belief or perception is correct, or

b) intentionally commits the act or acts constituting the offense in whole or in substantial part because of a belief or perception regarding the race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation of a person, regardless of whether the belief or perception is correct.

Note: All hate crimes are bias incidents, but not all bias incidents are hate crimes.

What are examples of hate crimes?

Painting racial slurs on the side of a campus building, assaulting another person because of his or her perceived national origin, or throwing a rock through someone’s window while yelling derogatory comments about his or her religion are hypothetical examples of a hate crime.

What is a Bias Incident?

Skidmore defines a bias incident as an act of bigotry, harassment, or intimidation involving a member of the Skidmore community that a reasonable person would conclude is directed at a member or group within the Skidmore community based on race, color, ethnicity, nationality, economic background, age, physical and mental health or ability, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, veteran status, or religious practice. A bias incident can occur whether the act is intentional or unintentional. Speech or expression that is consistent with the principles of academic freedom does not constitute a bias incident.

What are examples of bias incidents?

Depending on the totality of the circumstances, writing a racial epithet in erasable marker on someone’s dry-erase board, making fun of another person because of his or her language or accent, or making insulting comments about someone’s traditional manner of dress or geographic origin are hypothetical examples of a bias-related incident.

What are the resources for harassment?

The Bias Response Group does not handle sexual harassment claims. Please direct questions or reports to Herb Crossman, Associate Director of Equal Emploment Opportunity and Workforce Diversity. Follow this link to view the Anti-Harassment Policy.

How often do these incidents occur?

We do not currently have statistics regarding the frequency of bias-related incidents on campus since the College has not had a comprehensive mechanism for reporting bias-related incidents that do not constitute crimes. Our new reporting process is intended to encourage more complete reporting, and will allow us to better track the frequency of such incidents in the future.

Who can I report an incident to?

Any member of the Skidmore College community – or any group of persons within the community – who observes or is the target of a bias incident or hate crime is strongly encouraged to report the incident as soon as possible to Campus Safety (580-5566). Campus Safety will document what happened, including where and when the incident occurred, the names of the victims, and names of witnesses, if any. Whenever possible, the individual(s) who observe the incident should not touch or disturb any physical evidence related to the incident. You may also complete the Bias Incident Report Form.

Any person or group may also opt to contact any of the following individuals or offices:

These individuals will work closely with the person or groups affected in determining where to direct the complaint and how the College might respond effectively to the incident.

What is the Bias Response Group?

The members of the Bias Response Group are charged with two distinct but related responsibilities. First, they constitute the College’s first-response team in dealing with reported bias incidents. Second, working with other appropriate individuals, offices, and organizations, they will play an educational role in helping to foster a climate of openness and inclusion on the Skidmore campus, a climate that is intolerant of harassment or discrimination directed against any member of the Skidmore community. Given the College’s broad educational mission, it is important that the Bias Response Team involve representatives from both academic and co-curricular programs, members of the faculty and staff, and students in its ongoing, proactive efforts to sustain of the desired campus climate.

Who is on the Bias Response Group?

How can I get involved?

There are several opportunities to help stop hate and bias on our campus. Please go to the Office of Student Diversity Programs website for a list of clubs and organizations dedicated to social justice and education and to view upcoming diversity events and programs on campus.

You may also want to learn more about the Respect Matters! Campaign, a grassroots student movement dedicated to establishing a safe learning environment and promoting social awareness until tolerance prevails.

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