We at Saint Mary’s College of California cherish the inherent dignity of each member of our diverse community. Grounded in Saint Mary’s mission, three traditions, and the five Lasallian core principles, the Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT) strives to promote a safe, hate-free environment where all people can live, work, and learn. BIRT’s primary roles are to recommend preventative education as well as report and respond to bias incidents and hate crimes.
- Educate the Saint Mary's community about the protocol for reporting bias incidents and crimes and the role of BIRT in determining whether reports are bias-related.
- Support target(s) of bias incidents and hate crimes, including those who are directly involved as well as identity groups that may be affected.
- Collect and share all bias incidents and hate crime reports with the Saint Mary's community, including BIRT's response to each report without revealing confidential and personal information.
- Monitor the campus climate around issues of diversity and civility.
- Recommend appropriate actions and educational programs that are both preventative and responsive to bias incidents and hate crimes.
The Team operates on the basis of the Lasallian Core Principles to promote understanding, respect, civility, and education.
- We assist students who report bias incidents. Our primary function is to support students who report bias incidents. We support them by listening to their accounts of their experiences and discussing resources and both formal and informal options for moving forward. The student is in charge of the process, and we will not take any action that is not authorized by the student. Students can make reports whether or not they want to take action.
- We keep annual statistical records of bias incidents on campus. At the end of each year we compile a statistical summary of the reports received during the year.
- We promote conversation about diversity issues. We also meet with student groups to engage in or moderate discussions about diversity on our campus.
- We aren't a judicial or disciplinary body. We do not decide guilt or innocence and do not mete out punishment. We play no part in disciplinary proceedings.
- We aren't an investigative team. We don't go on fact-finding missions. We take reports about bias incidents and, if the student wants to, we discuss options for how the student might move forward. If the student opts to file a formal report and initiate campus disciplinary proceedings, then an ivestigation will be carried out through that process, which is overseen by Community Life, not BIRT.
- We aren't a crisis response team. Anyone in a dangerous situation (e.g., a violent or potentially violent situation) needs to contact Public Safety immiediately. If the situation involves a bias incident, we can take a report at a later time.
- We aren't the thought police or speech police. We don't tell people what to think or how to talk. We do support the students whose ability to feel safe, at home, and welcome in our community is frustrated by the prejudicial behavior of those around them.