Dean of Students

What is a hate crime?

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a hate crime is a “crime of violence, property damage, or threat that is motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias based on race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, gender, physical or mental disability, or sexual orientation.”

Within the State of Michigan, a person is guilty of ethnic intimidation if that person maliciously threatens or physically contacts a person with intent to intimidate, harass or damage the property of that person because of that person’s race, color, religion, gender or national origin.

The University of Michigan also recognizes additional categories of potential bias, such as sex, gender identity or expression and age.

What are some examples of hate crimes?

Painting racial slurs on the side of a campus building, assaulting another person because of actual or perceived national origin, or throwing a rock through someone’s window while yelling derogatory comments about that individual’s religion are hypothetical examples of a hate crime.

What is a bias-related incident?

Similar to hate crimes, bias incidents are non-criminal activities that harm another because of that person’s membership in a classification, such as race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, age or religion.

What are some examples of bias-related incidents?

Depending on the totality of the circumstances, writing a racial epithet in erasable marker on someone’s dry-erase board, making fun of another person or group of people because of their language or accent, or making insulting comments about someone’s traditional manner of dress or geographic origin are hypothetical examples of a bias-related incident.

How can I report a hate crime or bias-related incident?

If it is an emergency, dial 911 to be connected to the Division of Public Safety and Security (on campus) or Ann Arbor Police Department (off campus). If you believe you have experienced a hate crime, you may report it directly to the Division of Public Safety and Security (on-campus) at 734-763-1131 or the Ann Arbor Police Department (off-campus) by at 734-994-2911. Even if you report it to DPSS or AAPD, we would appreciate a report to the University’s bias incident reporting system for follow up and statistical purposes.

If you are not sure you have experienced a hate crime and would like to discuss the incident, please call 734-615-BIAS (2427). Faculty and staff who call the number during normal business hours will be connected to the Office of Institutional Equity. Students who call the number during normal business hours will be connected to the Dean of Students Office. Staff from these offices will offer support and begin to discuss next steps with callers. Those who call the phone line after normal business hours should leave a message and a staff member will get back with them on the next business day.

The University is committed to providing a number of safe spaces where community members may confidentially report bias-related incidents. Offices where you may report such incidents.

Why are bias-related incidents of concern?

While the University is committed to a respectful and inclusive learning and work environment, it can only fulfill that commitment through the actions of individual members of the University community. We are each responsible for treating every fellow member of our community with dignity and respect. If one member of our community engages in harassment or discrimination, the person subject to that behavior will not feel respected, genuinely valued or an equal member of the University community. That person may stop contributing unique perspectives in the learning, research or work environment, or may lose all commitment to the community and leave. When one person engages in acts of bias, many of us suffer the effects.

How will the University respond when it learns of ethnic intimidation or bias-related incidents?

The University is committed to act responsibly when it learns of incidents motivated by hate or bias. Such occurrences, if they constitute a criminal act such as assault or property damage, should be reported to the police and will be fully investigated. Other acts of intolerance may violate University policies or community standards. In those instances, we will pursue a range of remedies that may include disciplinary action as well as community education and dialogue.

When you report a bias incident, appropriate University staff will help you determine the possible next steps, explain the relevant processes, and offer counseling and support or refer you to other offices that may provide support.

How often do ethnic intimidation and bias-related incidents occur at U-M?

Hate crimes are reported annually in the Campus Safety Handbook. In 2004 (the most recent year for which we have reported statistics), the Ann Arbor campus had one assault with race prejudice reported to the Division of Public Safety and Security and 11 bias-related incidents (occurring on campus or in Ann Arbor) reported to the Spectrum Center. However, in the past, the University has not had a comprehensive mechanism for reporting bias-related incidents that do not constitute crimes. Our new reporting process is intended to encourage more complete reporting, and will allow us to better track the frequency of such incidents in the future.

What are the U-M policies that address hate crimes and bias-related incidents?

Policies that address these issues can be found on the on What To Report.

What types of personal characteristics are protected from discrimination in the University’s official policies?

Members of the University community are protected from unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, age or religion. The University also complies with all applicable laws regarding nondiscrimination.

What is the difference between discrimination and bias-related incidents?

Unlawful discrimination refers to specific conduct prohibited by law that unfairly treats people differently because of their characteristic or perceived characteristics that the law deems to be unrelated to merit. An example of unlawful discrimination would be to deny membership into a group because a person is Muslim.

Bias is a preconceived negative opinion or attitude about a group of people who possess common physical characteristic or cultural experiences. An example of a bias incident, would be writing racist or homophobic graffiti on the door of a student’s room.

Unlawful discrimination often results from bias. Bias-related incidents, however, do not always result in unfair treatment that violates nondiscrimination laws.

How soon should I expect to hear from someone after submitting a bias incident report?

We take all bias incident reports very seriously. Someone from the Bias Response Team reviews submitted reports every day and after business hours. You should expect a response normally within 24 hours or by the next business day.

Can I remain anonymous when submitting a bias incident report?

Yes, you may remain anonymous in all parts of the bias incident report. However, offering contact information is most beneficial for thorough follow up and care of the impacted student.

Can I bring a person with me to my meeting?

Yes, bringing a support person is a common practice and always welcome.

Where can I find a list of related definitions?

If you are unsure of any of the terms used please view our definitions page.