At the direction of WPI’s president, the primary function of WPI’s Bias Response Program is to foster an inclusive campus culture at WPI by addressing individual and community-wide incidents of bias. The Bias Response Program allows the university to provide support for individuals looking to better understand their reporting options, serve as a resource and measure of accountability to formal reporting channels, and advocate for individuals who may not be comfortable pursuing formal reporting channels. Additionally, the BRP will serve as a means of data gathering and assessment on patterns and trends of bias to mitigate the pervasive effects and recurrence of bias on campus.
Bias incidents* are those where speech or expressive conduct is directed toward an individual or group that is based on or motivated by the individual’s or the group’s real or perceived race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, disability, or gender identity and/or expression. Bias incidents may include actions that are motivated by bias, but that is protected by academic freedom and do not meet the necessary elements required to prove a crime or a violation of University policy, as outlined below.
*Note: This definition of a bias incident is intentionally broad to reflect our values to create and sustain an inclusive, safe, and productive community for all of our members.
Depending on the nature and severity of the behavior, the associated bias, and impact, bias incidents will be addressed through interventions as appropriate, such as education, restorative practices, mediation, community dialogue, formal processes through institutional offices (e.g., review, investigation, resolution), and/or referral to WPI PD.
Although not every incident will be a violation of university policy or law, all reported incidents will be reviewed for an appropriate response. Academic freedom allows, protects, and promotes the ability to discuss controversial ideas, differing views, and sometimes offensive and hurtful words. Such speech or expression will not be stifled or disciplined but may be used as an opportunity to grow as a campus community through the Bias Response Program (BRP).