Frequently Asked Questions
- Acknowledge that acts of bias do occur on campus and in the broader community and work actively to combat bias. You can begin by reporting incidents to inform the greater community.
- Educate yourself to help dispel stereotypes.
- Hold people accountable for their language and actions.
- Plan and/or attend educational programs to raise awareness and combat bias.
- Engage one another in conversation about topics such as privilege, oppression and diversity.
Reports may fall under, but are not limited to, the following general categories:
- Graffiti/Vandalism on any College property or in local areas that communicate offensive, hurtful, inappropriate or unwelcoming messages that represent bias;
- Hate speech that reinforces stereotypes and stigmas associated with race, color, ethnicity, social class, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, age, marital status, place of birth, veteran status, or against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability;
- Bias-related threats that target an individual or community based on race, color, ethnicity, social class, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, age, marital status, place of birth, veteran status, or against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability;
- Unequal service or treatment toward an individual or communities based on race, color, ethnicity, social class, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, age, marital status, place of birth, veteran status, or against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability;
- Academic experiences in which students or faculty face a bias incident, whether it is a comment or interaction, regardless of the target, (i.e., the incident could be peer-to-peer, faculty-to-student(s), student(s)-to-faculty, etc.); and/or
- Observation in which a person observes one of the incidents described above or interprets it as harmful to the Bowdoin community.
Acts of bias are in direct violation of the College’s mission and values. The Mission of the College states that Bowdoin is committed to “creating a moral environment, free of fear and intimidation, and where differences can flourish…” An act of bias not only affects the individual at whom the act was directed but also any other individual who may identify with the targeted group. If one group can be targeted, it opens the possibility that any group can be targeted. Accepting acts of bias as normal isolates groups, erodes community, and creates an unwelcoming and unsafe environment within which to live, work and learn.
All reports are directed to Tim Foster, Dean of Student Affairs, and Leana Amaez, Associate Dean for Multicultural Student Programs. Dean Foster and Dean Amaez will share reports with Student Affairs staff, Security, and/or Human Resources, as appropriate. A staff member will follow-up with the person who has submitted the report, and Security may conduct an investigation. Security will also communicate and collaborate with Brunswick Police and the State of Maine as appropriate. Reports of incidents directly or indirectly related to the academic program are also forwarded to Cristle Judd, Dean for Academic Affairs.
Dean Foster will determine whether the threat or consequences of an incident are deemed to jeopardize the safety of the entire campus community. If so, President Mills will be notified. If the perpetrator or perpetrators are unknown, President Mills may convene the Bias Incident Group (charge, membership) to review the available facts and, when appropriate, to issue an all-campus communication. In addition, the Bias Incident Group may organize an institutionally coordinated response and follow-up educational efforts.
The Advisory Committee for a Diverse Community will review reports at their regularly scheduled meetings to help inform the work of the Committee.
The Office of the Dean of Student Affairs will handle student misconduct according to the student disciplinary process. Human Resources will handle cases of employee misconduct in accordance with College policy as outlined in the Employee Handbook.
Bowdoin’s “Campus and Community Index” is an online tool designed to:
- Promote transparency about what is happening in our community and prompt dialogue and action;
- Create a historical record of incidents and behavior on campus or in the local Brunswick community that are inconsistent with the values of our learning community; and
- Inform the campus community about efforts by students, faculty, and/or staff aimed at addressing and preventing these incidents.
These reports can make a difference. Even if you don't want or expect any action to be taken, this record helps the College to better understand and address these issues.
Tim Foster, Dean of Student Affairs, and Leana Amaez, Associate Dean for Multicultural Student Programs, review all reports submitted online. The identity of those submitting information for the Index will remain confidential and will not be posted on the Index, but submissions must include the name and contact information of the person(s) providing the information. This allows staff to follow-up in a confidential manner with those submitting reports. Anonymous reports will be reviewed, but they will not be posted or summarized for the Index. The Deans will review the incident/observation, and a summary will be prepared—often in consultation with the person who reported the incident—and posted on the Index. This summary will be posted on the Index in chronological order.
Can positive experiences and efforts aimed at preventing or educating the community about incidents of bias also be reported?
Examples of positive experiences or educational and prevention efforts organized by students, faculty, and/or staff will also be summarized for the Index. Details about these programs or experiences may be reported using the Bias Education Form provided for incidents or observations of bias. Note: These reports should not be used to advertise events, but rather report on events that have already occurred.
The “Campus and Community Index” is accessible to members of the campus community only (a Bowdoin user name and password is required to view the Index). Reports will be shared with Brunswick Police and town leaders when appropriate.
Reports of incidents are handled with the highest degree of confidentiality. Tim Foster, Dean of Student Affairs, Leana Amaez, Associate Dean of Multicultural Student Programs, Tama Spoerri, Director of Human Resources (when appropriate), Cristle Judd, Dean for Academic Affairs (when appropriate), and in consultation with Randy Nichols, Director of Safety and Security, will review the report and determine whether further action is warranted, including posting information on the Index, notifying President Mills, launching an investigation, and/or College disciplinary action. The name of the individual making the report is often irrelevant to those decisions.
The “Campus and Community Index” and the College student disciplinary process function independently of each other. The Index serves the purpose of communicating to the campus incidents and/or observations that have occurred on campus or in the Brunswick community. Tim Foster, Dean of Student Affairs and Leana Amaez, Associate Dean for Multicultural Student Programs may, at their discretion, refer a reported incident/observation for adjudication or further action.
If members of the Bowdoin community experience or witness any apparent incident of harassment or discrimination by students, faculty, or staff, they are encouraged to discuss their concerns or request advice from deans, academic advisors, proctors, resident advisors, or members of the Human Resources staff. Such incidents violate both the ideals of the College and its Academic Honor Code and Social Code, as well as College Policy as outlined in the Employee Handbook and may be subject to appropriate disciplinary sanctions. When such incidents violate the statutes of the State of Maine or Federal Law, criminal prosecution may be pursued.
After reporting an incident, you should continue to maintain contact with the dean or other member of the College Community to whom you reported the incident so that you can receive guidance should there be any form of retaliation or retribution or should you have further questions or concerns.