At the beginning of October, Gonzaga University released the annual BIAS report detailing reported incidents of bias by students, staff or faculty. 

The Bias Incident Assessment & Support team (BIAS) released that it received 106 reports from June 1, 2018 through May 31, 2019. Out of these incidents, 85 of them were unique incidents. 

The BIAS team is composed of 17 faculty and staff members and was created two years ago to support individuals and communities that are impacted by bias incidents. 

Bias incidents involving race were the most common with 44 of 85 incidents surrounding race and ethnicity, followed by gender and sexual orientation at 22 incidents.  

Joan Iva Fawcett, BIAS team co-chair, said the number of incidents in the 2018-2019 school year tripled from 34 incident reports to 106. 

Fawcett also said that the increase most likely isn’t because of more incidents on campus but rather more students being aware of how to report it when incidents occur.

“My general takeaway is that there is now a culture of reporting bias incidents at Gonzaga and that students are well aware of this new resource,” she said. “I’m also pleased with how reporting parties and initiators, by and large, seem to appreciate the support and educational conversations that the BIAS Team offers.” 

“We’re still in the early phases of a new initiative so I think it’s too premature to create any kind of trend analysis,” Raymond Reyes, Associate Academic Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for GU said. “Given two years ago what the Campus Climate Assessment revealed there were no surprises. A little bit in terms of 40% of bias incidents occurring in classrooms.”

34 of the incidents occurred in classrooms, while 23 were in residence halls. Of the remaining incidents, 11 were elsewhere on campus, seven were off campus, six were online and six at the mailroom. 

Going forward, Fawcett said that the BIAS team wants to equip the students and faculty with the tools to address incidents in the classroom and encourage faculty to use the resource to report more going forward. 

“Given that 40% of the reports took place in the classroom last year, it is imperative that we work more closely with our faculty partners in addressing bias incidents.  We have been consulting with provost Deena  González, associate provost Ron Large and associate provost Jolanta Weber on how to best proceed,” Fawcett said. 

Matt Lamsma, BIAS team co-chair, said that students should know that the BIAS team takes their job very seriously. 

“We serve as a supportive and educational body for the entire community and our membership takes this responsibility to heart in conversations with everyone involved with an incident.  The report is an indication of how Gonzaga works to establish systems that create a welcoming campus environment for students, faculty, and staff,” Lamsma said. 

 Lamsma said it was surprising that 40% of the reports from school classrooms considering that most of students’ time is spent out of the classroom.  

“What was eye opening for me was just realizing where these instances were occurring and who was involved,” Raymond Reyes said. “We didn’t know what we didn’t know.”

on campus but rather more students being aware of how to report it when incidents occur.

“My general takeaway is that there is now a culture of reporting bias incidents at Gonzaga and that students are well aware of this new resource,” she said. “I’m also pleased with how reporting parties and initiators, by and large, seem to appreciate the support and educational conversations that the BIAS Team offers.” 

“We’re still in the early phases of a new initiative so I think it’s too premature to create any kind of trend analysis,” Raymond Reyes, associate academic vice president and Chief Diversity Officer for GU said. “Given two years ago what the Campus Climate Assessment revealed there were no surprises.”

Thirty-four of the incidents occurred in classrooms, while 23 were in residence halls. Of the remaining incidents, 11 were elsewhere on campus, seven were off-campus, six were online and four in postal mail. 

Going forward, Fawcett said that the BIAS team wants to equip the students and faculty with the tools to address incidents in the classroom and encourage faculty to use the resource to report more going forward. 

“Given that 40% of the reports took place in the classroom last year, it is imperative that we work more closely with our faculty partners in addressing bias incidents,” Fawcett said. “We have been consulting with Provost Deena  González, Associate Provost Ron Large and Associate Provost Jolanta Weber on how to best proceed.” 

Matt Lamsma, BIAS team co-chair, said that students should know that the BIAS team takes its job very seriously. 

“We serve as a supportive and educational body for the entire community and our membership takes this responsibility to heart in conversations with everyone involved with an incident,” Lamsma said.  “The report is an indication of how Gonzaga works to establish systems that create a welcoming campus environment for students, faculty, and staff.” 

Lamsma said it was surprising that 40% of the reports from school classrooms considering that most of students’ time is spent out of the classroom.  

“What was eye-opening for me was just realizing where these instances were occurring and who was involved,” Reyes said. “We didn’t know what we didn’t know.”

Bias incidents can be reported at gonzaga.edu/reportbias.

Benjamin McDonald is a contributor. 

 

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