College Policies and Response Procedure for Bias-Motivated Incidents

Delaware Valley College is committed to creating an educational community free from intolerance directed toward individuals or groups and to maintaining an environment that fosters respect for others. We are strongly committed to addressing incidents of bias and prejudice against members of our community. By taking strong, consistent and clear stands on bias-motivated incidents and acts of intolerance, we aim to help create an environment of inclusion, a respect for diversity and an understanding of different cultures.

A "bias-motivated incident" is any incident which may fall within one or more of the following definitions:

  • is conduct of any nature that denies equal privileges or treatment of a particular individual because of the individual’s age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status.
  • is a form of discrimination consisting of physical or verbal conduct that (1) is directed at an individual because of the individual’s age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, political belief, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status, (2) sufficiently severe or pervasive so as to substantially interfere with the individual’s employment, education or access to Delaware Valley College programs, activities and opportunities.
  • may include, but is not limited to verbal or physical attacks, threats, slurs, graffiti or other written word, or derogatory comments that meet the definition set forth above. Whether the alleged conduct constitutes prohibited harassment depends on the totality of the particular circumstances, including the nature, frequency and duration of the conduct in question, the location and context in which it occurs and the status of the individuals involved.
  • An act of intolerance refers to conduct that is in violation of a college policy, rule or regulation and is motivated by discriminatory bias against or hatred toward other individuals or groups based on characteristics such as age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, political belief, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status.

Protocol for reporting and responding to Bias-Motivated Incidents

This protocol exists to ensure an efficient, effective and appropriate response to incidents that may be characterized as bias-motivated incidents. The protocol should be implemented whenever a bias-motivated incident is believed or perceived to have occurred, and is specific to addressing incidents targeting any member of our community where it is believed that a student or students may be responsible for the behavior of concern.

Because this protocol addresses behaviors believed to be initiated by students, it does not address bias incidents initiated by or between faculty and staff. Faculty or staff members who have experienced bias-related behavior from another faculty or staff member should contact the Human Resources Office for assistance.

In keeping with college policy, students who believe they have experienced bias-related behavior by a faculty member or staff member should report their complaint to April Vari, Vice President for Student Affairs, who will report the matter to Human Resources for shared investigation and resolution of the matter.

Procedures for Reporting Bias-Motivated Incidents

If you have been the target of a possible bias-motivated incident, or have witnessed a possible bias-motivated incident, you are urged to report the incident immediately. Any member of the Bias Incident Committee is available to speak with individuals about an incident.

Resident students who may be more comfortable reporting to their RA or Area Coordinator are welcome to do so and appropriate follow-up will be made.

Whether you report to a team member or to a residence life staff member, the individual receiving the report will inform the Vice President of Student Affairs who will, with the appointed Bias Incident Response Team made up of administrators, faculty, staff and students:

  • Investigate the reported incident
  • Support those people who have been targeted
  • Communicate to the college community as appropriate the reported incident and the committee’s  findings
  • Recommend to the Vice President of Student Affairs on whether the incident warrants being sent to the Student Conduct Board for a judicial hearing. Factors taken in to consideration include but not limited to:
    • severity of incident
    • did physical injury occur
    • is the incident a crimes-code violation or a college violation
    • whether the incident rises to the level where suspension or expulsion may be a likely outcome

Incident Response Team

  • April Vari (Vice President for Student Affairs)
  • Steve Johnson (Director, Safety and Security)
  • Derek Smith (Director, Residence Life)
  • Missy Chubb (Administrative Assistant, School of Life, Physical, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences)
  • Janet Klaessig (Librarian)
  • Tanya Casas (Professor, Liberal Arts)
  • Jessica McCall (Assistant Professor, English)
  • Joann Donigan (Instructor of English)
  • Vincent Tavella (Student, Small and Large Animal Science Majors)
  • Brennan Dougherty (Student, Counseling Psychology Major)
  • Joan Hock, (Director, Financial Aid)
  • Priscilla Jackson, (Career and Student Professional Development) Coordinator

Support Resources

Resources are available for individuals interested in confidential support to discuss bias-related incidents. Counseling is available to student on campus through the Counseling Services Office in Elson Hall. Counseling Services is also available to make referrals for faculty and staff to practitioners in the surrounding community.