Ball State University aspires to be a university that attracts and retains a diverse faculty, staff, and student body. Ball State is committed to ensuring that all members of the campus community are welcome through our practice of valuing the varied experiences and worldviews of those we serve. We promote a culture of respect and civil discourse as evident in our Beneficence Pledge.

We encourage students to report incidents of bias immediately. If you witness, directly experience or find evidence of a bias incident on campus, you can use the Bias Reporting form or contact the Multicultural Center at 765-285-1344.

Definition of a Bias Incident

A bias incident is a behavior or act—verbal, written, or physical—that is personally directed against or targets an individual or group based on any of the following characteristics, perceived or actual, as defined below.

  • race
  • color
  • religious belief
  • sex
  • marital status
  • sexual orientation
  • gender identity or expression
  • national or ethnic origin
  • disability
  • veteran status
  • age

Bias incidents differ from a hate crime in that no criminal activity is involved.

Insensitivity or the expression of an idea some may find offensive are not necessarily bias-related incidents. Bias incidents are a singular or perpetual action and/or language that limits or threatens the ability of an individual to work, study, or participate in the campus environment.

Some bias incidents may result in a formal university compliant such as reports of discrimination, sexual misconduct, or other violations of university policy or law.

If you are unsure if what you have witnessed or experienced is a bias incident please email us or call 765-285-1344.

Bias Response Process and Team

The Bias Response Team will review the report and contact you to schedule a time to meet with a staff member. During the meeting, a staff member will review the information you provided and assist you to determine the next steps in the process.

The team includes members from several offices within the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services and Ball State faculty.

FAQs

The Bias Response Team will review the report and contact you to set up a time to meet with one of the members. During the meeting, team members will review the information you provided and work with you to determine the next steps in the process.

No, not all incidents are criminal in nature. If the Bias Response Team has questions about whether the incident is criminal or not, the team may ask the University Police to review it and determine if further action by the police is warranted.

No, but that might be an option for you and the team member to discuss as part of your action plan to resolve the incident.

The student who filed the report will work with the Bias Response Team to determine whether to pursue a formal complaint through the university’s existing disciplinary procedures. If so, someone may contact you as an alleged offender to discuss the incident.

The Multicultural Center will keep general and statistical information about the incident for inclusion in its annual report. We record the date, type, location, and nature of the incident and how it was resolved. We shred the original report.

Yes, our authority and expectations for student conduct extend beyond the geographic boundaries of campus and include all students, regardless of where they live. We can and do pursue disciplinary action against students for behavior that is not consistent with the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is the civil rights guarantee for people with disabilities in the United States. A “person with a disability” is anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.

In addition to people with visible disabilities—such as those who are blind, deaf, or use a wheelchair—the definition includes people with a range of invisible disabilities. These include psychological problems, learning disabilities, or some chronic health impairment such as epilepsy, cancer, cardiac problems, and HIV/AIDS.

All students at the university have a right to fair and equitable procedures for determining the validity of allegations that are in violation of university regulations.

“Gender” refers to the attitudes, feelings, and behaviors that a given culture associates with a person’s biological sex.

Behavior that is compatible with cultural expectations is referred to as gender-normative; behaviors that are viewed as incompatible with these expectations constitute gender non-conformity.

“Gender identity” refers to “one’s sense of oneself as male, female, or transgender” (American Psychological Association, 2006).

When one’s gender identity and biological sex are not congruent, the individual may identify as transsexual or as another transgender category (cf. Gainor, 2000).

Actions that can be physical, verbal or written, that create a hostile or intimidating environment and are directed at a specific individual or group of people are considered harassment.

See the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities, Appendix I and the Anti-harassment Policy, Appendix C.

A person who has an origin from a specific place is believed to have a specific ethnic background because of nationality, ethnicity, or accent.

A set of negative personal beliefs about a social group that leads individuals to prejudge people from that group or that group in general, regardless of individual differences among members of that group.

Extreme prejudice can result in groups being denied benefits and rights unjustly or, conversely, shown unwarranted favor.

A group of people thought to share certain distinctive physical characteristics, such as facial structure or skin color.

Racial characteristics are thought to be biologically inherited (unlike ethnic characteristics, which are cultural).

This term includes all aspects of observing and practicing a personal set or institutionalized system of attitudes or beliefs.

“Sexual Orientation” refers to the sex of those to whom one is sexually and romantically attracted.

Categories of sexual orientation typically have included attraction to members of one’s own sex (gay men or lesbians), attraction to members of the other sex (heterosexuals), and attraction to members of both sexes (bisexuals).

While these categories continue to be widely used, research has suggested that sexual orientation does not always appear in such definable categories and instead occurs on a continuum (e.g., Kinsey, Pomeroy, Martin, & Gebhard, 1953; Klein, 1993; Klein, Sepekoff, & Wolff, 1985; Shiveley & DeCecco, 1977).

In addition, some research indicates that sexual orientation is fluid for some people. This may be especially true for women (e.g., Diamond, 2007; Golden, 1987; Peplau & Garnets, 2000).

We consider a “student” to be any person admitted to Ball State University, registered or enrolled in classes either full time or part time, or otherwise associated with the university.

This term includes any teaching, research, service, administrative function, proceeding, ceremony, or activity conducted or authorized by students, faculty, staff, or administrators that is held by the authority of the university.