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.

View Bias Incident Response Flow Chart (PDF)


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 Incident Response Team to determine whether to pursue a formal complaint through the university's existing disciplinary procedures. If a complaint is made through a formal process, a University official may contact the alleged offender if the incident is violation of the University Student Code of Conduct or any other University policy.


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. Bias incident reports are maintained in the university's reporting database. The number of incidents and the report type are included in the Multicultural Center's annual report.

The Bias Incident Response team will provide services and support to students who experience a bias incident no matter where the incident occurs. However, the options available to students for a formal process may be limited based on the location of the incident among other considerations.
Students are encouraged to submit the bias incident report themselves so the team can follow up directly and provide the necessary resources. Incidents involving employees should be reported to supervisors/department heads, Human Resources, or the Office of General Counsel. Anonymous complaints can be submitted through an EthicsPoint report

“The ADA defines a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. This includes people who have a record of such an impairment, even if they do not currently have a disability. It also includes individuals who do not have a disability but are regarded as having a disability. The ADA also makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person based on that person’s association with a person with a disability.” (ADA, 2021)

“There are many types of disabilities, such as those that affect a person’s:

  • Vision
  • Movement
  • Thinking
  • Remembering
  • Learning
  • Communicating
  • Hearing
  • Mental health
  • Social relationships

Although “people with disabilities” sometimes refers to a single population, this is actually a diverse group of people with a wide range of needs. Two people with the same type of disability can be affected in very different ways. Some disabilities may be hidden or not easy to see.

According to the World Health Organization, disability has three dimensions:

  1. Impairment in a person’s body structure or function, or mental functioning; examples of impairments include loss of a limb, loss of vision or memory loss.
  2. Activity limitation, such as difficulty seeing, hearing, walking, or problem solving.
  3. Participation restrictions in normal daily activities, such as working, engaging in social and recreational activities, and obtaining health care and preventive services.” (CDC, 2020)

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-“One's innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither –how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One's gender identity can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth.” (HRC, 2021)

Gender Expression -“External appearance of one's gender identity, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, haircut or voice, and which may or may not conform to socially defined behaviors and characteristics typically associated with being either masculine orfeminine.” (HRC, 2021)

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.

“A component of identity that includes a person’s sexual and emotional attraction to another person and the behavior and/or social affiliation that may result from this attraction. A person may be attracted to men, women, both, neither, or to people who are genderqueer, androgynous, or have other gender identities. Individuals may identify as lesbian, gay, heterosexual, bisexual, queer, pansexual, or asexual, among others.” (APA, 2015)

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.