Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT):
The Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT) addresses incidents of real or perceived bias targeting Otis College students, faculty, and staff. Additionally, this team educates the campus community about bias and related institutional policies, protocols, and resources. The BIRT uses a three-pronged approach:
Otis College of Art and Design is an equal opportunity employer and educator, firmly committed to providing an environment in which people respect the rights of others to live, work, and learn in peace and dignity, and to have equal opportunity to realize their full potential as individuals and members of society. Otis College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religious creed, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, family care status, veteran status, age, disability, medical condition, national or ethnic origin, or any other protected category under state or federal law in the administration of its student admissions, employment, access to programs, or administration of educational policies. The College prohibits, harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation based on the perception that anyone has any of these characteristics or is associated with a person who has or is perceived as having any of these characteristics.
Otis College will make reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with known disabilities unless doing so would result in an undue hardship or fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity.
This prohibition against discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation includes engaging in behavior that may:
- Threaten the physical safety of any member of the community;
- Create an educational environment hostile to any member
- Discriminate against another person or persons; or
- Inflict physical, emotional, or mental injury to, or provoke a violent response from, a reasonable person.
Students with questions regarding this policy or believed instances of discrimination or harassment on the basis of any of these criteria should be brought to any of the following individuals: Dr. Nick Negrete, Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at firstname.lastname@example.org, Dr. Carol Branch, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Title IX Coordinator email@example.com, or file a formal student grievance at www.otis.edu/complaint-procedure. The College will not retaliate against anyone for filing a complaint made in good faith and will not knowingly permit retaliation by management, faculty, staff, or students.
BIRT TEAM MEMBERSHIP:
- Dr. Nick Negrete, AVP for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (Chair)
- Jiseon Lee Isbara, Provost
- Dean of Student Affairs
- Dr. Carol Branch, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Title IX Coordinator
- James Birks, Student Counseling Services/Student Health and Wellness Center
- Karen Hill, Vice President of Human Resources and Development
- Steve McQueen, Chief of Safety and Security
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER A REPORT IS RECEIVED?
When a bias incident report is submitted, BIRT will respond to reported incidents in the following ways:
- Information from an incident report is received by the BIRT Coordinator/AVP for DEI. BIRT responds to individual(s) submitting a report to acknowledge receipt and to also offer appropriate support and a possible initial meeting to discuss the incident in more detail.
- BIRT Team is convened in person or over email to review the report and determine whether a bias or hate incident is likely to have occurred. Reported incidents are reviewed as promptly as possible.
- As necessary, the BIRT Coordinator consults with other College officials (VP of Human Resources, Provost, Residence Life and Housing, Safety and Security, etc.) and relevant offices to coordinate responses.
- If the reported incident is determined to involve bias, and there is a possibility of a policy violation or violation of law, BIRT will forward to appropriate bodies such as Human Resources and Development, Provosts’ Office or Local Police, in order to allow for appropriate formal processes to be followed first and foremost. The Bias Incident Response Team does not adjudicate conduct code violations, affirmative action issues, or issues of state or federal law. However, the BIRT can help individuals connect to resources in each of these areas for appropriate resolution.
- If the incident does not rise to a level of policy violations and/or crimes, BIRT will move forward to address and resolve in the most supportive and restorative manner, and involve all parties, as appropriate.
- The Dean of Student Affairs and in some instances, the Provost’s Office and Safety and Security may investigate reported incidents of bias or hate crimes, and forwards the results to BIRT for inclusion in report summaries.
- Resolution of the reported incident is the main goal of BIRT, and this can entail a number of avenues, depending on the scale of the incident, the impact, and willingness to move forward from both parties, and openness to restorative approaches.
- When a reported incident has had a campus-wide impact or involves campus risk, a campus wide email may be sent. In certain situations, the President may also send a message to the campus community.
Otis College strives to provide an educational, working, and living environment free from discrimination, harassment, intolerance, and hate. Such behavior will not be tolerated. The purpose of the Bias Incident Response Team is to provide information about responding to bias incidents that occur on campus, and to outline the procedures and resources available to members of the Otis College community. It is not the purpose or the intent of this protocol to define whether or not an act may violate Otis College Policy or State or Federal law.