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What If I Don't Know

Generally, at SCU, bias incidents is an act -- verbal, written or physical -- characterized by some expression of bias towards an individual or against a particular group motivated in whole or in part by a person or group’s actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, age, religious creed, physical, or mental disability, medical condition, as defined by California law, marital status, citizenship status, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, military or veteran status, or other status protected by law, and which has the purpose or effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with an individual’s or group’s safety or security, or which creates an intimidating, hostile, and objectively offensive educational, living or working environment. Bias related conduct in violation of the Student Conduct Code on the basis of actual or perceived religious faith and political affiliation/orientation is also prohibited.

California law defines a hate crime as a criminal act or credible threat of violence against a person or group of individuals because of their actual or perceived race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, or disability, and that is intended to induce fear, scare, terrify or cause psychological harm. Criminal acts of hatred can leave lasting emotional impressions upon their victims as well as entire communities. Bias incidents are sometimes considered to be hate crimes, but not always. Incidents of hate or bias may investigated whether or not a crime has been committed.

Acts of bias affect all members of the University community, which includes students (both undergraduate and graduate), faculty, staff, and administration. This also includes alumni, contractors and visitors to the University.  

If you are the impacted party of a bias incident or witness a bias incident against someone else, you are strongly encouraged to seek support and report it.


As a campus community, we are committed to addressing any bias or hate-motivated incident that arises. When incidents go unaddressed, SCU is unable to denounce the act, involve others in supporting the target, investigation, provide accurate information and dispel misinformation, seek justice, and promote healing.


The bias incident can be reported in any of the following ways and at any time. Regardless of which reporting option you select, your report will be fully reviewed to determine next steps:

  • EthicsPoint:
    • EthicsPoint is an anonymous and confidential online incident reporting tool. EthicsPoint is available to report activities that may involve criminal, unethical, or otherwise inappropriate behavior in violation of the University's policies. A reporting party may choose to remain anonymous; hoiwever, the reporting party is encouraged to indicate if they are a faculty/staff member, student or non-affiliate for the purpose of tracking incidents.
  • Contact the Office of Student Life between 8 AM to 5 PM at (408) 554-4583, located in the Benson Memorial Center, #205
    • Ask to speak with a member of the Dean’s staff about reporting a bias incident.
  • If life-threatening emergency/immediate danger, dial 9-1-1 or contact Campus Safety at (408) 554-4444, 24-hours a day
    • Any Campus Safety officer can take a report and will forward the information to the Office of Student Life.
  • If the bias incident occurs within one of the Residence Halls on campus, contact a member of the Residence Life staff. 

The University will Support, Respond, Consult, and Communicate.


  • Intake conversation(s) centering impacted person(s)
    • Assess and determine the need for support or protective measures
    • Determine if there continues to be a threat to parties involved and provide appropriate support
  • Outreach to support others impacted
  • Refer (as needed) to on- and off-campus resources for response
  • Ongoing support & check-ins


  • An investigation of the bias report may ordinarily begin within 24 hours of a report being received. If the report is received during the weekend, an investigation of the bias report may begin by the close of the following business day
  • If evidence of the bias related situation is something visible, it will then be determined what appropriate actions need to be taken (take down, remove it by submitting a work order, etc.)
  • All bias incident reports will be handled with privacy and discretion. Any personal information obtained during the response process will be subject to disclosure only to the extent required by law, or as required for the University to respond appropriately


  • University representatives involved will review the incident to gauge impact on the broader SCU community and determine additional follow up plans, should they be necessary
  • Consultation is expected with community stakeholders about gauging impact, sharing information and proposing community-specific plans.
    • If the incident targets a specific historically underrepresented and/or marginalized group (any group based on race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious affiliation, citizenship status, etc.), a student leader on record will be consulted and copied on the email sent to the community
  • As appropriately determined, a university representative will send email communication to impacted communities within the next 24 business hours after the incident is reported AND the situation is investigated


  • Communication includes sharing:
    • Known facts of what occurred that the impacted party is comfortable sharing or as required by law
    • A reminder to the SCU community about community expectations moving forward
    • Support resources for fellow SCU community members who may be impacted by the incident
    • Next steps that will be taken regarding the matter, including: updates on support for the impacted party, notifications to the alleged offending party, etc.
  • All parties directly involved with the incident will receive communication within 24 to 48 hours. Additional communication will depend on the incident’s level of community impact
  • Should any SCU community member(s) know anything about the incident, they should report it by contacting the Office of Student Life and/or file a Bias Report ASAP

Once the report is submitted and depending on the nature of the situation and who is affected and involved in the situation, a number of University offices may be involved in the investigative process. These offices may include the Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX, the Office of Student Life, Provost Office and Human Resources.

While the investigative process may vary depending on the situation, at a minimum, the following takes place:

  • Submitted Report is reviewed
  • Individual that submits the report is contacted by the assigned investigator to gather details as well to determine what additional support or protective measures the individual(s) may need during this time.
  • Investigator will contact and interview individual(s) involved in the incident to learn more
  • Evidence (photos, videos, written messages, etc.) is preserved, collected and reviewed
  • Depending on the outcome of investigation,the next steps may vary and could include a possible range of options
    • If the act(s) alleged in the report is deemed to be a potential violation of the University Student Conduct Code, all relevant information will be shared with the Office of Student Life for processing through the University’s disciplinary system.
    • If the act(s) alleged in the report is deemed to be a potential violation of the University’s Policy on Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct all relevant information will be shared with the Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX Coordinator for processing pursuant to that Policy.
    • If information in the report indicates a faculty and/or staff member may have violated a University policy, all relevant information will be shared with the Provost’s Office or Human Resources.
  • If a person is found responsible for violating University policy, they will be held accountable through the university student or employee conduct process. 

While the formal process ends with the conclusion of the investigation, the University understands that the nature of any bias incident has long term effects both on the individuals and/or groups that were impacted and the larger University community. This may require focused outreach and educational efforts to the impacted individuals/groups and the larger campus community to reaffirm the University’s commitment. The University is cognizant that bias incidents become part of the institutional memory and that it must learn from these incidents.

The University understands that those not directly involved in the incident will want to know specific details on the findings and outcome. It is important to understand that the process is designed to protect the individuals that submit reports as well as to ensure that any disciplinary action is kept confidential. You can learn more about the potential range of options that are available in such situations by reviewing the Frequently Asked Questions.