Bias Education and Support
Westminster is committed to creating an inclusive environment for all members of our community. Our students, faculty, and staff work together to create a culture of creativity and innovation, while promoting inclusiveness and respect for differences.
Bias negatively impacts these efforts and requires an active response to foster greater engagement and inclusivity. Even when people are unaware that they have shown or acted with bias and do not mean to offend, an expression of bias deserves a response and can be an opportunity for education.
At Westminster, we are committed to fostering a community where everyone feels that they belong.
We are all Westminster.
Let's Talk About Bias
Every human has biases, and often makes biased statements without even realizing. In addition to working to create an inclusive community, Westminster aims to help members of the campus community confront their own bias.
Bias is treating an individual or group negatively because of their actual or perceived:
- Ethnic or national origin
- Gender, gender identity, or gender expression
- Marital status
- Political or social affiliation
- Sexual orientation
Bias can also be institutionalized into policies, practices, and structures. While freedom of expression and the open exchange of ideas are a vital part of education, bias dehumanizes people, erodes individual rights, debilitates morale, and interferes with the effectiveness of work and learning environments.
- Telling jokes based on a stereotype
- Racist or derogatory graffiti or images/drawings
- Calling someone the r-word, n-word, f-word, etc. (in person, in writing, on social media, on whiteboards, etc.)
- Calling a person or a behavior "gay" as an insult
- Making jokes or using stereotypes when talking about someone
- Saying that all _____ [people of a certain group or identity] are _____ [stereotyping]
- Using a racial, ethnic, or other slur to identify someone
- Making a joke about someone being deaf or hard of hearing, blind, etc.
- Imitating someone with any kind of disability, or imitating someone’s cultural norm or practice
- Making comments on social media about someone’s disability, ethnicity, race, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, or political affiliations/beliefs
- Drawing or creating pictures that imitate, stereotype, or belittle/ridicule someone
because of their gender, gender expression, race, ethnicity, national origin, disability,
sexual orientation, faith, or political affiliation
A bias occurrence involves actions directed toward a person or property that are motivated (in whole or in part) by a bias against race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected military status, genetic information, or other protected classes (as required by law) and that interferes with a person’s participation in any aspect of the campus community.
If you feel that you have experienced or witnessed bias, you are encouraged to report it. The Bias Education and Support team will help you determine how to handle, respond to, and/or resolve your bias experience.
Stand Up to Bias
Depending on the circumstances, intervening in a bias occurrence can include:
- Interrupting the behavior (if it is safe to do so)
- Expressing compassion to any person(s) impacted
- Taking photos or collecting other documentation
- Reporting the bias using the Bias Report Form
Be sensitive to other people’s lived experiences and identities. If you were involved in a bias occurrence, don’t say “it’s just a joke” or “I didn’t mean it that way;” acknowledge the error of your words/actions.