Bias-related incidents occur in every community. The strongest way to combat the mean-spiritedness of those few who perpetuate this behavior is to have a community where everyone recognizes the responsibility to denounce hate and counters bias with actions focused on inclusion, not exclusion. Each member of the community should do his/her part to celebrate and welcome differences, not discriminate against them.
Bias is a preformed negative opinion or attitude toward a group of people based on race, religion, ethnic/national origin, gender, gender identity, 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 against race, religion, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability.
Miami University provides an annual report of hate crimes, reported to campus security authorities in accordance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Campus Security Act). Hate crimes included in the report are crimes committed against "a person or property which are motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity or sexual-orientation group."
The Campus Security Act of 1990 as amended in October 1998 requires that all of the crimes included in the crime statistics report that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability be reported as hate crimes.
What You Should Know
Many individuals become targets of bias-related incidents because others are unable to accept differences based on race, religion, disability, ethnic/national origin, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation. Miami University condemns such acts. At Miami, a bias-related incident directed at an individual or group, owing to their difference, is viewed as an attack on the entire community. For a basic guide to university resources explaining how the Miami community supports those who are targets of bias, see What You Should Know.
If you are a Miami faculty member, staff member, or student and feel that you have been the victim of an incident of bias due to your race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, or disability, you are encouraged to submit a Bias Incident Report.
Action Steps for a No-Hate Campus
You are encouraged to take the following action:
- Speak out when jokes or comments are made that are hateful or demean others because of race, religion, disability, ethnic/national origin, gender, or sexual orientation.
- Ask yourself if you use derogatory, degrading, or offensive terms in describing others and if you avoid people who are different from yourself.
- If you are the victim of a harassing or nuisance phone call, save the e-mail message or voice mail message. Report the incident to police immediately.
- Educate yourself on the psychology of hate. Statistics indicate that most hate callers are white males under the age of 22 with low self-esteem. The motivation is typically a feeling of disenfranchisement.
- Wear or display the No-Hate logo.
Remember that hate crimes and bias-related incidents can and do occur everywhere, but the difference is how communities respond. And in this community, silence about such situations is not acceptable.