BHERT ‘open’ to publishing findings

The Bias-Hate Education Response Team (BHERT)—a subcommittee of the Faculty Diversity Committee that was formed to respond to incidents of bias and hate on campus—has received suggestions from multiple students that the committee publish a report of their findings in The Trail.

Former ASUPS Senate member Sadie Boyers recently told The Trail that she felt BHERT’s findings should be made more public so that BHERT can truly promote awareness and discussions on bias and hate.

Other members of the ASUPS Senate and student leaders in the Division of Student Affairs have also informally approached BHERT with this suggestion, with the intention that the committee might achieve a broader educational reach on campus.

The response among BHERT members to the students’ suggestion has been largely positive.

“Overall, members of BHERT are open to the suggestion of publishing the
BHERT report summaries per semester,” according to Czarina Ramsay, the Director of Multicultural Student Services and BHERT chair.  “Making the information accessible in this manner reminds us that issues of bias and hate still exist and must
be addressed, helps to promote the objectives of this committee and
raises awareness on how to submit a report.”

Donn Marshall, the Director of Counseling, Health & Wellness Services, an Associate Dean of Students and a member of BHERT, also noted a positive reaction to a new avenue for raising awareness.

“My sense is that BHERT members would like our community to be more aware of the reports that we have followed, and more engaged in conversation about what we can do as a community to improve our track record of biased actions, and ignorant, offensive behaviors and speech,” Marshall said.

Though BHERT members support publishing a report of their findings in The Trail, these reports will not begin immediately.  Ramsay explained that interest in utilizing The Trail is not the only factor that determines when the reports will begin.

“I don’t anticipate a disinterest in making this information available in The Trail, but we are likely to wait until our incoming Dean of Diversity & Inclusion/Chief Diversity Officer, Michael Benitez, starts in June to participate in this conversation,” Ramsay noted.

The reports in The Trail would consist of data that Marshall describes as a collection of individual experiences.

Marshall offered examples of the trends that become apparent in the collection of a number of individual experiences.  “Sometimes patterns emerge—like the frequency of sexual misconduct reports this year, or the pattern of insensitive, hurtful comments coming mostly out of social settings, rather than out of classroom settings. Sometimes problematic areas can be identified—like the repeated offensive writing on the desks in some classrooms in Wyatt.”

These patterns inform BHERT of the types of bias and hate that need attention.

While publishing a report in The Trail would be a new form of outreach for BHERT, the committee currently promotes awareness in other forms.

“The 2012 Fall BHERT Summary report has been prepared and shared across campus including ASUPS Senate, the Academic Leadership Team, the Faculty Committee on Diversity, the Diversity Advisory Council and the directors within the Division of Student Affairs,” Ramsay said.  “Another outlet to share this report would include the Annual Diversity & Inclusion Report and the Fall Logger Diversity Summit.”

While there is existing education on bias and hate across the campus community, publishing reports in The Trail could expand BHERT’s reach in promoting awareness, which would further BHERT’s aim to respond to incidents of bias and hate with education.