Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is bias?

    A bias incident is an act or behavior consciously or unconsciously motivated by the offender’s bias against facets of another’s identity. As stated in the University’s Equal Opportunity Policy, these facets include: race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, disability and veteran status. Bias may be directed toward an individual or group. Bias may contribute to creating an unsafe / unwelcoming environment.

    The expression of an idea or point of view some may find offensive or inflammatory is not necessarily a bias-related incident. Wake Forest values freedom of expression and the open exchange of ideas. The expression of controversial ideas and differing views is a vital part of University discourse. While this value of openness protects controversial ideas, it does not protect harassment or expressions of bias or hate aimed at individuals that violate University policies, including, but not limited to, the Student Code of Conduct and the University’s Equal Opportunity Policy.

  • What is a Bias Incident?

    Wake Forest defines a bias incident as any threat or act – verbal, written, or physical – that is directed against or targeted at a member(s) of the Wake Forest community or Wake Forest property that are motivated, in whole or in part, because of a bias against race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, disability and/or veteran status. Bias incidents that are addressed by the university Bias Review Group include actions that are motivated by bias but may not meet the necessary elements required to prove that a crime has occurred.

  • What is the difference between a Bias Incident and a Hate Crime?

    Bias incidents are defined as behavior which constitutes an expression of hostility against the person or property of another because of the victim’s race, religion, disability, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Bias incidents include those actions that are motivated by bias, but do not meet the necessary elements required to prove a crime. This may include such behavior as nonthreatening name calling, using racial slurs or disseminating racist leaflets.

    Hate crimes are defined under specific penal code sections as an act or an attempted act by any person against the person or property of another individual or group which in any way constitutes an expression of hostility toward the victim because of his or her race, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, gender or ethnicity. (Elements of crime statutes and protected classifications vary from state to state.) This includes but is not limited to threatening phone calls, hate mail, physical assaults, vandalism, cross burnings, destruction of religious symbols and fire bombings.

  • What about freedom of expression?

    Wake Forest values freedom of expression and the open exchange of ideas. The expression of controversial ideas and differing views is a vital part of University discourse. The expression of an idea or point of view some may find offensive or inflammatory is not necessarily a bias-related incident. While this value of openness protects controversial ideas, it does not protect harassment or expressions of bias or hate aimed at individuals that violate the Student Code of Conduct.

  • Why is the bias reporting system important?

    Through these reports and responses, we as a community can gain a better understanding of one another’s experiences and build a more caring community.

  • Who should submit a report?

    Wake Forest University encourages all faculty, staff, students, and volunteers, acting in good faith, to report suspected or actual wrongful conduct. The University is committed to protecting individuals from interference with making a good faith report and from retaliation for having made a good faith report or for having refused to engage or participate in wrongful conduct.

  • What happens when a report is filed?

    When a report is received, University Police will investigate to assess any immediate danger or harm.

    The report also goes to the Bias Review Group, which will review the report and direct it to the appropriate office for investigation and resolution in accordance with the applicable University policy. The Bias Review Group will reach out to the individual who submitted the report (if identified) to provide care and support and assess avenues for minimizing or eliminating the possibility of future harm.

    The Bias Review Group may also appoint a smaller team of appropriate individuals to provide ongoing support to the individual(s) involved and/or to explore avenues to minimize future harm, as well as support ongoing community healing and educational outreach.

  • Who is on the Bias Review Group?

    The Bias Review Group is currently comprised of:

    • Adam Goldstein, Dean of Students
    • Angela Mazaris, Director, LGBTQ Center Director
    • José Villalba, Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Assessment of Wake Forest College
    • Tanya Jachimiak, Title IX Coordinator and 504 Coordinator
    • Donna McGalliard, Dean of Residence Life & Housing
  • What is a Bias Response Team and how is it different from a Review Group?

    A Bias Response Team is a small group of individuals who may be asked to provide ongoing support to the individual(s) involved in a bias incident and/or to explore avenues to minimize future harm. This team is usually created because of their relationship with the individual(s) involved or their position in the institution that situates them to understand the context of a particular incident. If a Bias Response Team is created to support an individual following a bias report, that team is created by the Bias Review Group.

  • What happens with information collected by the Bias Incident Response system?

    The Review Group aggregates reports and response actions into the Annual Bias Incident Report and shares it with the Bias Steering Committee.

    The Bias Steering Committee will review bias incidents reported and University responses to those incidents on a regular basis and share aggregate findings in a confidential form with the University community. Through these reports and responses, we as a community can gain a better understanding of one another’s experiences and build a more caring community.

  • Is there any accountability?

    When the Bias Review Group receives a report, it directs the report to the appropriate office for investigation and resolution in accordance with the applicable University policy, including HR, Student Conduct, and Title IX.

    In many instances – when bias-related acts are committed anonymously and individuals cannot be held accountable to University policies, or even when a policy has not been broken but a community member has experienced harm — the Bias Review Group can still assess avenues to minimize or eliminate the likelihood of future harm and provide educational outreach.

  • Who is on the Bias Steering Committee?

    The Steering Committee is comprised of:

    • Penny Rue, VP Campus Life
    • Tim Auman, Chaplain
    • Regina Lawson, Chief, University Police
  • Am I mandated to report bias?

    Depending on their role at the University, some campus members may be required to report some kinds of bias. If you have any questions about your responsibility to report possible bias incidents, please contact the Title IX office or a deputy Title IX office.

    Although it is not mandated by law to report bias, we strongly encourage you to report bias you learn about, witness, or experience. Bias Incident Reports are critical to understanding the nature and occurrence of bias on our campus and to developing appropriate responses, including but not limited to, support services, educational programming, and policies.

  • Do I report a bias incident through the Bias Incident Report system if the bias incident in question involves possible sexual misconduct, or do I report it to the Title IX Coordinator?

    Any incident involving possible sexual misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator. Students who need a confidential resource with whom to discuss sexual misconduct may contact the Safe Office at 336-758-5285 or safe.studentlife.wfu.edu.

  • Can I report a bias incident anonymously?

    Because we seek to provide care and outreach, we strongly encourage anyone reporting an incident to provide either a phone number or an e-mail address so that we may contact you if there is a need for clarification or if additional questions or concerns arise. Should you choose to report anonymously, we will follow up to the best of our ability.

  • If I report an incident, will it be confidential and if not, who will be told about my concern?

    In order to effectively respond to bias related reports and concerns, we do not offer confidentiality.  We will, however, keep concerns private and only involve University administrators who need to be involved to assist with resources and/or resolution of concerns.  There are confidential resources available to our students and those include the University Counseling Center, the Safe Office and University Chaplains.

  • Should I still report a bias-related incident if I know someone else has reported the same incident?

    Yes, you are welcome and encouraged to report an incident that you think has already been reported. We value each personal perspective about bias-related incidents. These perspectives will help us respond appropriately to a bias-related incident.