Joining the ranks of universities such as Michigan State, University of Florida, Texas A&M, University of Arizona and other peer institutions, NC State now provides bias incident reporting and response through its new Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT).
Coordinated by Reggie Barnes, NC State’s senior director of campus community centers and reporting through the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED), the team began forming in fall 2016 to prepare to provide the campus community a system through which a person can report incidents of bias on and around campus.
BIRT provides a means to acknowledge, address and report bias incidents that have occurred and to offer restorative practices to affected parties and to the campus as a whole. It does not replace existing processes for reporting and addressing acts of discrimination, harassment, concern or violence; nor does it conduct investigations, which may be referred to the appropriate university offices when necessary.
Why Does NC State Need a Bias Incident Response Team?
The Bias Incident Response Team empowers NC State community members to report incidents of bias they experience on campus and provides support to people affected by incidents of bias.
As a large university, NC State brings together thousands of people of varying viewpoints. Together, we have a mission to succeed as a first-class academic institution. With many perspectives converging, a community inevitably experiences incidents of bias, whether intentional or not. When these incidents do not violate policy or law but still cause distress or harm to community members, restorative practices can help repair the harm that has been done and enable affected parties to resume full productivity at the university.
Without a mechanism in place to repair harm, bias incidents can disrupt community members’ well-being and productivity and could ultimately detract from NC State’s success as an institution.
Support from Across the University
BIRT is coordinated through OIED, but the initial review team includes staff members from across the university, including the Office of Student Conduct, Student Wellness and General Counsel.
The secondary review team draws from an even wider representation on campus, including the Counseling Center, University Communications, OIED Communications, University Housing, Multicultural Student Affairs, the GLBT Center, the Women’s Center, OIED Outreach and Education, the Office of International Services, the Disability Resource Office, Human Resources’ Employee Relations unit, Student Government and college diversity directors.
Bias Incident Response and Reporting Tools
We invite you to consult the new BIRT website, where you will find the incident reporting form, information about restorative practices, policies, procedures, and resources. BIRT will publish an aggregate report about incidents that have occurred on campus at the end of each reporting year.
Reggie Barnes is senior director of the campus community centers and BIRT coordinator.