Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do to help prevent bias incidents from happening?

  • 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.

What kinds of incidents should be reported?

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;
  • 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;
  • It may also include actions indended to reinforce stereotypes and stigmas such as those associated with race, color, ethnicity, social class, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, age, marital status, veteran status, and physical and mental health, amoth others.
  • Observation in which a person observes one of the incidents described above or interprets it as harmful to the Bowdoin community.

         Note: Speach and related actions in the service of academic freedom and intellectual discourse do not constitute bias incidents.

Why should incidents of bias be reported?

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 does not only affect the individual at whom the act was directed and individuals 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.       

What happens when an incident is reported?

All reports are directed to Tim Foster, Dean of Student Affairs, and Leana Amaez, Associate Dean of Students for Diversity and Inclusion. Dean Foster and Dean Amaez will share reports with Student Affairs staff, Security, and/or Human Resources, as appropriate so that a staff member can follow-up with the individual who has submitted the report, and Security may, if necessary, conduct an investigation. Security will also communicate and collaborate with Brunswick Police and the State of Maine as appropriate.

Depending on the circumstances, a combination of the President, the Dean of Student Affairs, the Associate Dean of Students for Diversity and Inclusion, the Dean for Academic Affairs, and/or the Vice President for Human Resources will review the bias incident report.  In all circumstances, when it has been determined that a bias incident has occurred, the campus community will be notified by e-mail.  In instances where the alleged perpetrator(s) is a member of the Bowdoin community, the notification will be issued in a timely manner consistent with the requirements of a fundamentally fair investigation and, when appropriate, the disciplinary process.

Where the offender is known, 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.

If the offender is unknown, The Bias Incident Group will be informed and may be convened by the president 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. 

What is the "Campus and Community Index?"

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; and
  • 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.

How does the "Campus and Community Index" work?

Tim Foster, Dean of Student Affairs, and Leana Amaez, Associate Dean of Students for Diversity and Inclusion, 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 timely manner with those submitting reports to provide support and gain additional information. 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.

Is the "Campus and Community Index" public?

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. 

What degree of confidentiality is maintained?

Reports of incidents are handled with the highest degree of confidentiality. Tim Foster, Dean of Student Affairs, Leana Amaez, Associate Dean of Students for Diversity and Inclusion, Tama Spoerri, Vice President of Human Resources (when appropriate), Jennifer Scanlon, Interim 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 Rose, launching an investigation, and/or College disciplinary action. The name of the individual making the report is often irrelevant to those decisions.

How is the "Campus and Community Index" related to Bowdoin's student disciplinary process?

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 of Students for Diversity and Inclusions may, at their discretion, refer a reported incident/observation for adjudication or further action.

What can I do if I face or witness harassment or discrimination?

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.  In addition we have five Center Directors that can offer support.  These individuals include:

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.

What should I do if I am harassed or intimidated after filing a report?

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.

What are the consequences of submitting a false report?

Filing a false report is a serious matter. Students who do so may be subjected to disciplinary action via the student disciplinary process. Faculty or staff who file false reports may be subject to disciplinary action according to College Policy as outlined in the Employee Handbook.