What is a Bias Incident?

Bias incidents are acts that are generally characterized by some expression of bias against a particular group, or towards an individual because of their membership (or perceived membership) in that group. Bias incidents may range from acts considered to be offensive to actions that cause harm. Although bias incidents sometimes constitute hate crimes or discrimination, not all bias incidents rise to the level of a hate crime or discrimination.

Example: An ISEP student abroad who identifies as Muslim reports their roommate frequently makes disparaging remarks to them based on their religious practices and traditional religious garb. The remarks have led the student to feel uncomfortable in their living arrangements and asks to switch their housing assignment.

Example: An ISEP student from South Korea has reported bullying, discriminatory remarks, and use of racialized slurs by other students on their host university campus directly related to their Asian heritage.

What is a hate crime?

A hate crime is a criminal act (against person or property) that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s hate or bias towards a particular individual or group because of membership in that group (as defined by law). Bias incidents are sometimes considered to be hate crimes, but not always.

Example: An ISEP student abroad who identifies as a member of the LGBTQ+ community has reported violent threats based solely on their sexual orientation from other students on campus. The threats grow to the level of an actual physical assault on campus that results in minor injuries for the victim student

If you experience a Bias Incident:

If you witness or experience any type of hate bias or discrimination, know that ISEP’s staff is here to support you this incident. Please see below for more information and resources on reporting a Bias Incident during your time abroad ISEP Racial Equity Glossary – Many times, forms of discrimination can be ambiguous and difficult to understand and define. To help with this, ISEP staff have created a glossary of terms to help you understand, identify, and define different terms related to equity, racism, discrimination, and power structures.

The Grace Model of Response is how ISEP staff, students, and faculty can think of responding to a Hate Bias Incident. We remember the mantra: “remember to center the voices and experiences of those impacted”

  • Respond and report – Documenting all aspects of the incident, particularly if the individual reports online harassment or bullying. Share with all relevant parties.

  • Identify/Acknowledge – Validate the experience of the impacted individual:

“This was a bias incident that occurred because of discriminatory and negative perceptions around Transgender individuals, and it is understandable for you to experience feelings of grief, anger, or sorrow”

  • Ask the student what they are feeling; what resources could be most helpful?

  • Communicate with transparency: provide accurate information and dispel misinformation. Create and articulate an action plan to move forward.

  • Educate: Find pertinent articles and resources that are related to the incident, share with student as necessary. Encourage student to have open and honest conversations with individuals whom they trust.

How do I Report a Bias Incident?

It is the policy of ISEP Study Abroad to foster safety, security, and inclusion through all aspects of our programming. To do this, we have created a Bias Incident Report Form to report to ISEP staff that you have experienced an incident that has threatened or may continue to threaten your health, safety, or mental/emotional well-being. It is our belief that all students and affiliated ISEP colleagues should be free of intimidation, fear, coercion, reprisal, harassment, bullying or other unacceptable behaviors.

This form will be sent to ISEP Staff to be addressed within 48 hours of submission. For immediate assistance, such as in a life threatening or medical emergency, please contact the local authorities in your region, or the ISEP Emergency Line: 1-301-681-2388 so that ISEP staff can assist you.