A bias incident is an act of bigotry, harassment, intimidation, coercion, or damage to property by known or unknown perpetrators that occurs on the University of Florida’s campus or within an area that impacts the UF community and that one could reasonably conclude is directed at a member or a group of the UF community because of that individual’s or group’s actual or perceived age, color, creed, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any combination of these or related factors. Bias often stems from fear, misunderstanding, hatred, or stereotypes and may be intentional or unintentional.
Hate Crime is defined as any criminal offense or attempted criminal offense that one could reasonably and prudently conclude is motivated, in whole or in part, by the alleged offender’s bias against an individual’s actual or perceived age, ancestry or ethnicity, color, creed, disability, gender, gender identity or expression, height, immigration or citizenship status, marital status, national origin, race, religion, religious practice, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or weight.
Both bias incidents and hate crimes consist of conduct that is motivated by bias. However, hate crimes involve a criminal act, such as assault or vandalism. Bias incidents do not necessarily involve criminal activity and may come in the form of microaggressions (often well-intentioned but extremely hurtful and biased remarks from others) and other noncriminal acts of bias.
Often, our gut feeling or instinct tells us that we have experienced bias. Talking it over with trusted colleagues, friends, family, or others may help you determine whether or not the incident was based on bias toward you. Educating yourself about bias can help as well. The RESPECT Team and related offices on campus can always help support you in processing the incident.
The RESPECT Team is committed to fostering robust and respectful dialogue within our campus community. The team does not tell University members what they can or cannot do or say. The team also does not have any role in investigating or disciplining any community members for their speech or expression. Rather, the RESPECT Team’s aim is to provide resources and support for campus members who have been harmed by bias incidents, including those that may have stemmed from protected free speech; affirm the University’s values of equity, diversity, and free expression; and support the creation of spaces for more speech and dialogue around issues of social identity that affect our campus community.
After submitting your report, a member of the RESPECT Team will let you know your report has been received, provide resources for support, and learn more about your preferred response. The RESPECT Team may also, as appropriate, provide educational information to parties involved in the bias incident report about the University’s commitment to equity, inclusion, academic freedom, and freedom of expression. Other actions may include referring the bias incident report to investigative offices as appropriate, such as the CARE Team, Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, Housing and Residence Life, Human Resources, the University Ombuds, or the University of Florida Police Department.
Although microaggressions occur often, each one has an impact on the individual, and they have a cumulative effect on both individuals and communities. Reporting microaggressions helps tremendously in combating bias. The more information we have about microaggressions on campus (e.g., who engaged in the behavior, the identity targeted, where the incident occurred), the better the RESPECT Team and other offices can focus their educational programs, outreach efforts, and responses.