This summary is designed to explain how the Miami community comes to the aid of those who are targets of hate and to provide a basic guide to university resources. Included is information about how a hate crime is distinguished from hate speech and what to do about either.
The following questions are answered on this page:
The answer to this question is complex.
Bias is a preformed negative opinion or attitude toward a group of people based on race, religion, ethnic/national origin, sexual orientation, or disability.
The existence of bias is not enough to rise to the level of a crime, however. Rather, a hate crime is a criminal offense that must have been motivated, in whole or part, by an offender's bias aganst race, religion ethnic/national origin, sexual orientation, or disability.
Miami Police provide crime data to two national reports that list crime statistics, including hate crime statistics. For a crime to be classified as a "hate crime" it must meet criteria outlined in the definitions, which vary depending upon the federal agency collecting the information.
The definition most widely used by law enforcement agencies is from a U.S. Department of Justice publication, Hate Crimes Data Collection Guidelines. These guidelines define a hate/bias crime as: "Any criminal offense committed against a person or property which is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic/national origin groups or sexual-orientation group."
Remember that even if an incident doesn't meet the above definition, it is still harmful to the standards of community that Miami strives to uphold.
The two national crime reports to which Miami provides information include:
Though there is no specific statute that is titled "Hate Crime" under Ohio law, there is a penalty-enhancement statute, Ethnic Intimidation § 2927.12. This law addresses certain crimes, (aggravated menacing, menacing, criminal damaging or mischief, and telecommunications harassment) where the victim is targeted because of race, color, religion, or national origin.
Statistical publications like the FBI's Hate Crime Statistics and the University's Campus Security Act Report are designed to be factual presentations of data. Their purpose is not to evoke emotion or sway opinion. The neat columns and rows of numbers cannot convey the suffering experienced by victims of crime. Nor can statistics depict the turmoil that a hateful act can bring to a community.
Still, Miami believes it is important to make it easy for students, faculty and staff to have access to such information and thus it posts its Annual Security Report. For more information, see the Annual Report of Campus Safety and Security Policies.
Even if the incident does not rise to a violation of the law, cases of harassment, verbal slurs, etc., can lead to more serious hate-motivated violence when the community fails to responds. Silence is acceptance. These behaviors tear at the fabric of the community.
What can I do if I believe I'm the victim of a hate crime or any bias-related incident based on my race, religion, disability, ethnic/national origin, gender, or sexual orientation that makes me afraid for my safety?
You should do the following:
Miami can make changes in the hate crime victim’s living conditions if the victim wishes. In addition, Miami Police promise to do the following:
Many hate crimes are anonymous and acquiring enough evidence to make an arrest is challenging. Other hateful incidents (slurs, etc) are hurtful, but may be protected under First Amendment rights. That doesn’t mean you should ignore such incidents. If you are unsure what to do, contact Miami University Police or a campus security authority.
While physical attacks and vandalism are rare on college campuses across the nation, demeaning jokes or harassing or threatening phone calls or e-mails are not uncommon.
Each year, students, faculty, and staff report incidents of telephone or electronic harassment to the Miami University Police. For the most part, the callers select female victims for their targets, using sexually explicit and sometimes violent language in their messages. Members of our gay and lesbian community are also targets of threatening and offensive telecommunications harassment. In many cases, investigators have been successful in identifying and prosecuting these offenders.
Miami’s goal is to make sure victims (and others in targeted groups) are aware of the wide range of support available.
Recommended action steps are as follows:
Remember that hate crimes and incidents have many victims. One act can make whole groups feel intimidated, frightened, and isolated.
|Types of Offenses Reported||UCR
|Other Forcible and Non-Forcible Sex Offenses||No||Yes|
|Aggravated or Simple Assault||Yes||Yes|
|Motor Vehicle Theft||Yes||Yes|
|Other Hate Crime Involving Bodily Injury||Yes|
The Institutional Response Team (IRT) has developed a set of guidelines for informing the campus community of a variety of crimes that pose a threat to personal safety—including assaults, burglaries, and rapes. Unsolved crimes that may pose an ongoing threat to the safety of the community trigger the issuance of a Campus Crime Alert or Information Bulletin.
When the IRT determines that a crime meets these criteria, Miami Police will issue a Campus Crime Alert for incidents on university grounds or Information Bulletin for incidents off campus, and widely circulate it through the community.
If the crime and/or bias-related incident does not pose an ongoing safety threat to the community at large or to a particular group of individuals and/or involve a suspect at large, an Information Bulletin may still be issued as a means of informing the community.
The IRT includes the dean of students, police chief, general counsel, associate director of university communications, and other staff and faculty members.
Every college hate speech code reviewed in the federal courts has been struck down as being in violation of the First Amendment. Important distinctions between "hate crimes" and "hate speech" have to be made.
Briefly, hateful expression does not necessarily constitute an unlawful "threat." Many court opinions have defined the word "threat," and they typically distinguish between provocative or boorish expression (typically protected by the First Amendment) and true threats, which may lawfully be punished. Additionally, courts have held that the perception of a threat must be "objective" (that is from the standpoint of a "reasonable person"), not the subjective impression of a complainant.
Most cases involving hateful language on campuses do not involve physical threats, but rather demeaning, hateful expression.
For example, in a 1993 case, a circuit court ruled that George Mason University’s decision to sanction a fraternity for sponsoring a racist and sexist "ugly woman contest" violated the First Amendment. The university clearly had an interest in maintaining an environment free of discrimination and racism, but the court said the university went too far in punishing expression because it is merely hateful.
Does that mean universities have no recourse in such a situation? Absolutely not. There are a variety of alternatives in such situations (see What options exist for victims of bias-related incidents?)
You can visit the following websites for more information: