What is a hate crime?
A hate crime is any act prohibited by law that is motivated because of the victim's actual or perceived race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability, or sexual orientation.
What is a bias incident?
A bias incident is a lawful act motivated because of a person's actual or perceived race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability, or sexual orientation. In other words, the act itself is not illegal, but it is "hateful" toward a particular identity group. For example, use of a racial slur or derrogatory word directed at a person could be a bias incident. Most words, including racial and ethnic slurs, are consider "protected speech" under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. All hate crimes are considered bias incidents, but not all bias incidents are considered hate crimes.
What are the indicators of a hate crime or bias incident?
Is the motivation of the alleged offender known?
Was the incident known to have been motivated by racial, religious, ethnic, sexual orientation, gender, or disability bias?
Is there no clear other motivation for the incident?
Were any racial, religious, ethnic, sexual orientation, gender, or disability bias remarks made by the offender?
Were there any offensive symbols, words, or acts which are known to represent a hate group or other evidence of bias against the victim's group?
Did the incident occur on a holiday or other day of significance to the victim's group?
What do the demographics of the area tell you about the incident?
Should I report bias incidents to Public Safety?
Yes. It's extremely important that all bias incidents and hate crimes be reported to Public Safety as soon as possible. Often, an incident involving use of a racial slur escalates to a hate crime later on. If Public Safety is made aware of an incident, they can unlock resources for the victim to help to prevent future events.
Why does Saint Mary’s College need a Bias Incident Response Team?
Bias Incident Response Teams are common on college campuses that are committed to providing students and staff with a safe place to work and learn - "a hate free zone." This is exactly alighned with the Lasallian Principles of have Respect for All Persons and fostering an Inclusive Community. In order to support these values, Saint Mary’s College has formed a group of specially trained members to be ready when incidents occur. The team has a role in helping prevent such incidents by providing education and awareness.
Can I report a bias incident or hate crime to a team member instead of Public Safety of the Police?
Yes! You can use the online reporting form to make a report. However, if it is a crime of violence, contact Public Safety immediately at 925.631.4282. You can also contact a BIRT member to ask for assistance in making a Public Safety report.
Who do I report a bias incident to that occurred off campus?
Local police departments and sheriff's departments throughout California have all received training in the taking of bias incident and hate crime reports. Incidents need to be reported to the law enforcement agency responsible for the location where the incident occurred. Students and staff can get assistance in making a report to another agency by Public Safety or one of the BIRT Co-Chairs.
How can I find out about prior incidents and about safety at Saint Mary’s College?
Saint Mary’s College is a very safe place to go to school. You can find historical information about bias incidents. Public Safety also publishes an annual report containing information about reported hate crimes and other incidents.
Does BIRT provide training or presentations?
Yes, please e-mail BIRT@stmarys-ca.edu to request a training or presentation.