Campus Climate Support Program
Aligned with our university mission and goal to create an inclusive and welcoming campus that upholds respect for the dignity of each person, the Campus Climate Support Program provides a streamlined process for handling bias incidents. The role of the Campus Climate Support Team is to support, refer, inform, and educate those impacted by or involved in bias incidents, and the broader community.
The Campus Climate Support Team Does:
- Support community members who have been impacted by bias incidents;
- Refer appropriate resources to those impacted by and involved in bias incidents;
- Educate community members about the Campus Climate Support process, and the harmful impact of bias incidents;
- Inform the campus community about bias incidents and campus climate.
The Campus Climate Support Team Does Not:
- Replace current procedures or protocols in place to resolve alleged violations of student conduct, discrimination, sexual misconduct, or violations of criminal law;
- Aim to limit academic freedom or freedom of speech, but instead foster a community where individuals of all identities feel welcome and supported;
- Discipline, sanction or implement consequences.
What is a Bias Incident?
At Soka University of America, a bias incident is defined as an action, behavior or expression against an individual’s or group’s actual or perceived identity.
Bias incidents occur whether the act is intentional or unintentional, and may be based on, but not limited to: age, race, color, ethnicity, sex, sexual identity, sexual orientation, religion, disability and ability, gender identity and expression, national origin or ancestry, genetic information, parenting and pregnancy status, citizenship status or immigration status, political affiliation, veteran status, first-generation status, or socioeconomic status. Bias incidents may range from acts considered to be offensive to actions that cause harm. Although bias incidents sometimes constitute hate crimes or discrimination (as defined under Soka University of America’s non-discrimination policy), not all bias incidents rise to the level of a hate crime or discrimination.
What Happens After I Report?
After submitting a bias incident report, a Campus Climate Support Team member will reach out to confirm that your report has been received. If you do not request any follow-up, your incident report is logged and the process ends there. If you do request follow-up, a team member will schedule a time to meet to offer support and refer you to appropriate resources. Individuals who are reported about will also be informed and invited to meet, and receiving training and education. The follow-up will vary by the nature of the incident. A detailed overview of the process and what to expect can be found below.
- Bias incident report is submitted via Qualtrics.
- Incident report is reviewed to confirm it is a bias incident.
- If it is a bias incident, it is sent to the Campus Climate Support Team.
- If it is not a bias incident, it is sent to the appropriate process/department.
- The Campus Climate Support Team reviews whether there is a request for follow-up. Note: Individuals who submit a report have the option to request a follow-up.
- If there is no request for follow-up, the report is retained and kept on file.
- If there is a request for follow-up, the Campus Climate Support Team prepares a response.
- The Campus Climate Support Team response will include:
- Reaching out to the impacted individual to offer resources and support.
- Reaching out to the reported individual to offer educational resources.
- Incident reports are analyzed on an ongoing basis to inform educational responses to trends.
Frequently Asked Questions
Submitting a bias incident report allows us to ensure that campus community members receive the appropriate resources and support when they are impacted by, or involved in a bias incident. It also allows the university to be aware of issues that can impact campus climate. Finally, having a record of bias incidents on campus allows us to track trends in types of incidents, and determine educational responses.
Reports can be submitted by any member of the campus community or the public using the Bias Reporting Qualtrics form.
You can report an incident anonymously; however, the ability of the Campus Climate Support Team to respond to anonymous reports will be limited.
No. As this is a voluntary and non-punitive process focused on providing resources, training and education, follow-up will not be shared. If there are cases where both impacted and involved individuals would like to follow-up with each other, the CCST may support in facilitating such an opportunity.
A: We will strive to protect, to the greatest extent possible, the confidentiality of individuals who report to the CCST and of those involved in reported incidents. If an incident rises beyond the level of a bias incident, we may have an obligation to address certain reported incidents. Therefore, we cannot guarantee complete confidentiality when it would conflict with our university obligation to investigate meaningfully, or, when warranted, take corrective action. When information is disclosed, it will be limited to the extent possible.
The team functions to carry out the above roles and ensure the policy is being interpreted and carried out correctly.
Campus Climate Support Team members for the 2021-22 academic year are:
- Zahra Afrasiabi, faculty representative
- Michelle Hobby-Mears, student affairs representative
- Bethany Lobo, student affairs representative
- Sam W. Morales, staff representative
- David Nakabayashi, staff representative
- Anna Varvak, faculty representative
Bias Incident Log
As bias incidents are reported, the team will analyze and assess any trends, and recommend and implement action plans to address patterns and campus climate.
At the end of each semester, a summary log of bias incident reports will be shared with the community.